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Understanding Healthcare Data Migration: Strategy & Best Practices

Healthcare data migration can be a complex and daunting process – but it doesn’t have to be. Understanding the basics of healthcare data migration and following some best practices can ensure a smooth and successful data conversion. 

This blog post will cover everything you need to know about healthcare data migration, from strategy to execution. So whether you’re just starting to plan your healthcare data migration or are in the midst of implementing one, read on for helpful tips and guidance.

What is Healthcare Data Migration?

Healthcare data migration is the process of transferring healthcare data from one system to another. This can include moving data from an electronic health record (EHR) system to a new EHR system or migrating data from one hospital or clinic to another.

There are a number of reasons you might need to migrate healthcare data. Perhaps your healthcare organization is switching EHR systems, you’re consolidating clinics or hospitals, or closing a healthcare facility. Perhaps you’re complying with new regulations, or you’re looking to improve your clinical care processes. No matter the reason, it’s important to plan your healthcare data migration strategy carefully and execute it effectively.

Why Is A Data Migration Strategy Important?

When it comes to understanding healthcare data migration, one of the most essential aspects is understanding why having a data migration strategy is so crucial in the first place. After all, if you don’t have a plan in place, the data migration process is going to be far more complicated and could even end up costing your organization more money and time than necessary.

There are a few key reasons why having a data migration strategy is so important:

  • Organizations can save time and money by executing a data migration plan correctly the first time around
  • A data migration strategy helps ensure critical business functions continue uninterrupted during and after the data migration process
  • A data migration strategy can help mitigate risks associated with migrating healthcare data

Healthcare Data Migration Strategies

Next, let’s discuss two different types of healthcare data migration strategies you might utilize depending on your specific needs: full data migration and trickle data migration.

Full Data Migration

This type of healthcare data migration involves moving all of your data over to the new system at once. The entire process can take between several weeks to several months, so it’s important to plan accordingly. Doing a full data migration can be beneficial because it allows you to start using the new system with all of your data in place, which can help with a smooth transition.

Trickle Data Migration

With this type of healthcare data migration, you only migrate small amounts of data at a time. This can be beneficial if you only need to use certain parts of your data right away or if you want to test out the new system with small amounts of data first. Trickle data migration can also help reduce downtime during the migration process.

Best Practices for Healthcare Data Migration

No matter which type of healthcare data migration you choose (or is allowed by the new vendor), there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

Make A Plan

This is probably the most important part of any healthcare data migration– make sure you have a plan and stick to it! Having a detailed plan helps ensure the migration goes smoothly and without any major issues.

Test Everything

It’s important to test your new system thoroughly before going live with it. This includes testing all of your data as well as the new system itself. By testing everything beforehand, you can catch any potential problems and fix them before the transition happens.

Backup Your Data

This one should go without saying, but always back up your data before starting a healthcare data migration. This way, if something goes wrong during the transition, you’ll have a backup to rely on.

Be Patient

The migration process can take some time. So, be patient and give yourself enough time to complete it properly. Rushing through a data migration can lead to mistakes and problems down the road.

Enlist Help

There are data migration services available specifically for healthcare data migration that can take the entire headache out of the process for you. (Learn more about Two Point’s data migration services here)

Key Steps in Healthcare Data Migration Strategy

We mentioned that healthcare data migration doesn’t need to be such a daunting process. Now, we’ll tell you how to break the process down into more manageable steps. 

  1. Assessment

The first step in any data migration strategy is understanding what data you have and where it currently resides. This means taking an inventory of all the systems that hold patient data, both electronic and paper-based. Once you have a comprehensive understanding of your current data landscape, and what data you are legally obligated to migrate or archive, you can begin to assess which data needs to be migrated and where it needs to go.

Once you know what data you need, you need to identify the right tools and partners to help you migrate that data. This might include finding a healthcare-specific data migration tool or partnering with a company like Two Point that has extensive experience migrating healthcare data.

When you entrust your healthcare data migration needs to Two Point, we refer to this step as the user discovery process. During this step, one of our top priorities is working with legacy application users and your IT department to determine the scope of the data migration. We’ll review any image and document requirements together and determine the most appropriate solution.

  1. Data Cleanup

Data cleanup is an important but often overlooked step in the healthcare data migration process. In order to ensure only clean, accurate data is migrated, it’s important to scrub your source data before beginning the migration process. This means identifying and correcting any errors, duplicates, or unnecessary data.

This step falls under the ETL (extract, transform, load) step of Two Point’s data migration process. Before we upload your information to the new system vendor, we extract it from your existing database and clean and transform it with our ETL process. 

  1. Data Conversion

Data conversion is the process of converting your data from its current format to the format required by your new system specs. This step is often completed by a third-party vendor with expertise in data conversion. 

This conversion step falls under Two Point’s Vendor Output Creation step of the data migration process. We work with your new vendor to ensure necessary data is converted to the format meeting their inbound specs provided to Two Point.

  1. Data Testing

Data testing is essential to ensure your data has been converted accurately and that it can be successfully imported into your new system. Part of this step involves validating the data. This is a key element to data migration because it ensures there aren’t patient records errors.

  1. Go-Live and Support

The go-live stage is when your new system goes live and starts handling patient data. This is usually preceded by a period of training for staff members who will be using the new system. 

Once the new system is up and running, all live data will be migrated over. It’s important to plan out your go-live stage in order to ensure a smooth transition for your patients and staff.

During this step with Two Point, we work with your team and your new vendor to schedule the go-live with as little downtime as possible.

How Two Point Can Ensure Data Migration Goes Smoothly

If you’re in the process of healthcare data migration Two Point can help make sure your data migration goes smoothly– we offer powerful data conversion capabilities that keep your data safe yet accessible.

With Two Point, you can be confident your data will be safe and secure during and after the migration process.

Contact us today to learn more about our data archiving solutions, including our proprietary ACERT™ software for healthcare data migration.

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