Data migration is one of the most important aspects of healthcare technology. In fact, it’s so important that many experts consider it to be a critical success factor for any healthcare organization. There are many reasons for this, but three of the most important are patient safety, productivity, and risk mitigation. In this blog post, we’ll discuss these three benefits in more detail and explain why data migration is so crucial for healthcare organizations.
Let’s begin by understanding what healthcare data migration is. Healthcare data migration is the process of extracting, transforming, and loading healthcare data (including electronic health records (EHRs) and other patient data) from one system to another. There are many reasons why this might need to happen — for example, if a hospital changes EHR vendors or if a healthcare organization acquires another organization with a different EHR system.
Here are just a few examples of the types of healthcare data healthcare facilities and organizations store:
Considering the sheer volume of healthcare data created every minute, it can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it’s essential to ensure that patient data is transferred accurately and securely.
With that in mind, let’s move on to explaining the top three reasons for data migration in healthcare in greater detail.
There are many important reasons healthcare organizations need to migrate their data. However, the top three reasons it’s usually done involve healthcare data acquisitions and mergers, system updates, and compliance reasons.
Organizations in all industries are merging and acquiring other companies at an increasing rate. When two healthcare organizations merge, their data must be merged as well. Data migration is the only way to ensure that both systems have the most up-to-date information on patients, treatments, and staff.
Oftentimes, during an acquisition and/or merger, the acquired facility may only be able to bring across a certain amount of data from their system to the new system of the acquiring facility. Data migration can assist in the conversion process of this data to the new system. For any additional data that cannot be brought across a healthcare data archive can assist with housing the organization’s data.
(Read more about healthcare data archiving)
As technology advances, so do healthcare systems. Healthcare organizations may choose to upgrade or change their EMR/EHR system as the system evolves and their needs as an organization change. Migrating data to the new system ensures that patient records remain accurate and complete.
Along with migrating the data, archiving legacy data is another important part of the equation when it comes to legacy system upgrades. These system updates may require changing vendors, in those cases, the new vendor may only allow for 1-2 years of data to be brought across to the new system.
As we explain in this post:
“Archiving (in contrast to data migration) assumes that the system in question no longer exists and doesn’t need to. Instead, a healthcare data archive houses the underlying information from the particular system or systems in a unified, centralized, and easy to use archiving application without relying on the original system’s existence.”
There are many regulations that healthcare organizations must adhere to, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If a healthcare organization changes the way it stores or transmits data, it must ensure all of its data is compliant with the new regulations. That’s where data migration comes in. Migrating data ensures patient information is always secure and confidential.
HIPAA also determines how long patient records and other information must be retained. If data isn’t migrated, healthcare facilities risk breaching these requirements. Learn more about HIPAA’s retention requirements here.
Compliance is a key concern for healthcare organizations. After all, if patient data is breached, it could result in hefty fines and a loss of trust from the public. Along with adhering to HIPAA guidelines, healthcare organizations must also follow the HITECH Act, which encourages them to encrypt all electronic protected health information (ePHI). Protecting this data may involve data migration as well, particularly when the server or software is end of life and is no longer secure.
Finally, let’s move on to some of the biggest benefits of healthcare data migration: patient safety, productivity, and risk mitigation.
The first and most obvious benefit of healthcare data migration is patient safety. Patient safety, of course, is a top concern for healthcare organizations around the world.
By migrating data to a new system, you can be sure patients’ information is up to date and accurate. This is especially important in cases where patient information needs to be shared between different healthcare facilities. It can also help ensure the patient receives the treatment they need and nothing about their history is missed.
Inaccurate data can also lead to longer wait times for appointments and procedures. This is because staff must spend time verifying the accuracy of the data before moving forward with scheduling.
This is another big one. By migrating data to a new system, you can save a lot of time and resources that would otherwise be spent on manually inputting data. Not only that, but you can also avoid potential errors that could occur during manual input. This also means staff can spend their time focusing on more important tasks, such as providing patient care.
In addition, data migration can help healthcare organizations keep better track of their inventory. For example, if a hospital knows how many supplies they have on hand, they can order more before they run out. This way, they can avoid running into stock issues that could cause delays in patient care.
Last but certainly not least, healthcare data migration can help to mitigate risk. By migrating data to a new system, you can reduce the chances of losing important data or having it become corrupted. In addition, you can also take advantage of features like data backups and disaster recovery to further protect your data.
Of course, it also mitigates the (often costly) risk of violating HIPAA or other laws and guidelines for storing and retaining healthcare data.
Healthcare data migration is a complex process, but it’s essential for healthcare organizations to get it right. By understanding the top reasons for data migration in healthcare and the benefits it provides, you can be sure that your organization is prepared for anything.
Additionally, there are data migration solutions available that can help with the steps and considerations we’ve discussed today. However, it’s important to partner with a company that specializes in healthcare data migration and understands the unique needs of healthcare organizations. Two Point is exactly that. We have been providing data management solutions for healthcare organizations for over three decades.
If you’re interested in learning more about these solutions, don’t hesitate to contact us today.