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Considerations for Legacy Data Archival Projects

Healthcare organizations oftentimes have at least one or more legacy systems that they are maintaining for compliance and access purposes. Choosing to take on a legacy data archival project is the first step in reducing potential compliance errors, reduce your IT footprint, and eliminating unnecessary maintenance costs. While it may seem like a long and daunting task, this data archival project will pay dividends with this investment. 

There are, however, a few key considerations that any healthcare organization should keep in mind when embarking on a legacy data archival project that can help ensure the process goes smoothly.

We will discuss the top considerations for each step of legacy data archival projects in this article, beginning with how to prepare for data archiving.

Legacy Data Archival Preparation

Preparation is vital when beginning any healthcare legacy data archival project. To ensure a smooth transition, you must take the time to understand your current system and how it interacts with your legacy data. This will help you to determine what needs to be extracted and archived and what can be left behind.

Much of this comes down to being clear about your legacy data archiving goals so you can create a plan to achieve them.

Specify Your Legacy Data Archival Goals

Healthcare organizations might choose to archive their legacy data for various reasons. For example, perhaps they are moving to a new EHR system that only allows a certain amount of data to be brought across and want to keep a record of their old data; or perhaps they need to comply with HIPAA or other regulatory requirements. Whatever the reason, it is imperative to be clear about their goals for archiving legacy data so they can create a plan that will help them achieve them.

One common goal many healthcare organizations have is ensuring that patient records are maintained in accordance with state and federal regulations. This often requires extracting data from legacy systems so it can be properly archived. Organizations oftentimes use an archive to consolidate disparate legacy data from numerous systems to a single platform for access and convenience..

The goal must be clear before beginning the archival process so the right data can be extracted and archived.

Legacy Data Archival Projects: Timing

Legacy data archival projects can be a time sensitive matter in relation to mergers and acquisitions. Oftentimes, these projects can be completed on a more stringent timeline due to the delicateness of timing. Working with a data archiving company can assist with the timeliness of these projects.  Another common situation where legacy data archival might be necessary is when a healthcare organization is upgrading its EHR system. When migrating to a new EHR system, taking all of the data that is stored in your legacy system is not always an option nor is it recommended as it will take up storage on your new system. Planning an archive will allow you to store necessary data for compliance and access while maintaining optimal storage on the new EHR system. When planned in conjunction with your migration rather than delaying the archive to a later date, taking advantage of the final extraction before go-live on migration will save time and resources by including an archive at the time of migration. Your archive will take place following the final completion of your migration to ensure your data is static and final before loading the data onto your archive.

Choose The Legacy Data To Archive

Based on these goals, it’s then time to determine which legacy data needs to be archived. This will help to ensure only the data that is needed is extracted from the legacy system and that any unnecessary data is left behind.

This can often be daunting, as healthcare organizations usually have years of data stored in their legacy systems. However, certain considerations can help simplify the process.

First, you should only consider archiving data that is still relevant and necessary. For example, suppose you are looking to archive patient records. It is important to know the parameters for compliance and you may choose to only maintain patient records that fall within the required timelines set forth by HIPAA and state guidelines. Further, you should only consider archiving data that is still accurate. Inaccurate, invalid data can do more harm than good, so it is crucial to ensure that any data you archive is still valid and up-to-date.

Set Up Your Legacy Data Archival Project Team

Then, it’s time to set up your legacy data archival project team. This team will be responsible for extracting the data from the legacy system and transferring it to the new archive.

The team should consist of individuals with knowledge of both the legacy system and the new archive. They should also be familiar with the data that is being archived so they can ensure that only the necessary data is extracted.

In addition, the team should be able to work together to ensure that the data is transferred smoothly and seamlessly to the new archive.

Prepare For Data Extraction

Healthcare organizations can prepare for data extraction by looking back at the data that was migrated during previous projects. This gives you an idea of the amount of data that needs to be extracted and the format it is in.

The organization must also consider how the data will be extracted. Will it use a third-party healthcare data conversion specialist, or handle it in-house?

There are significant advantages to working with healthcare data conversion specialists for healthcare legacy data archival projects. To begin with, they have the experience and expertise needed to properly extract data from legacy systems as well as the best software to get the job done.

Another important consideration is how the data will be transferred to the new archive. For example, will you be using a cloud-based storage solution or an on-premises solution?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both cloud-based and on-premises storage solutions. For example, cloud-based solutions are often more flexible and easier to scale, but they can be more expensive and depending on the cloud based solution may result in the organization not owning their own data. On the other hand, on-premises solutions are usually less expensive, but may require you to maintain your own server to house the data once loaded onto the legacy system.

The best choice for your healthcare organization will depend on your specific needs and goals. However, it is important to consider both options before making a decision.

Data Archival Storage Considerations

Once the data is extracted from the legacy system, it needs to be stored in the new archive. This is where storage considerations come into play.

There are different factors to consider when choosing a storage solution for your legacy data.

For example:

  1. You need to consider how much data you have and how quickly you need to access it.
  2. You need to consider the cost of storing the data.
  3. You need to consider the security of the data.

The most important thing is to choose a storage solution that meets your specific needs and goals. Doing so can ensure that your legacy data is properly archived and easy to access when needed.

Work With Two Point For Legacy Data Archival Projects

If you are ready to move forward with a legacy data archival project, Two Point is here to help. We are healthcare data conversion specialists with decades of experience and expertise in extracting, migrating, and archiving data from legacy systems.

We also have the tools and proprietary ACERT™ software necessary to do so quickly and efficiently. This allows us to meet the specific needs of your organization.

Contact us today to learn more about our services or get started on your project.

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