Executives Strongly Favor Migration Plus Archiving Over Either Migration or Archiving
Galen Healthcare Solutions, in partnership with healthsystemCIO, released new data from a survey of healthcare delivery organization CIOs on trends, best practices and decommissioning priorities regarding their healthcare information technology and system portfolios. The report, “Application Decommissioning – Best Practices for Data Migration and Archiving: Findings from a Survey of Hospital and Health System Leaders,”shows almost all committed to an overhaul of their complex legacy systems and 84% favor doing so by means of data migration and archiving. Uncertainty persists about how best to rationalize the amount of data they must archive and for how long they should retain that data.
After years devoted to the infusion of technology into clinical workflow, the Galen report says, healthcare delivery organization CIOs have come to realize that their earlier adoption of best-of-breed strategies has saddled them with fresh burdens. According to the HIMSS 2019 Cybersecurity Survey and KLAS, 90% of hospitals are keeping old applications running to preserve data when an application is replaced or retired, causing 75% of hospital IT staff time to be consumed by legacy systems that cost more in annual licensing than hospitals pay in IT staff wages. Furthermore, the security of these legacy systems has been continuously compromised: (4.3 million health records affected in 2017; 90% of hospitals affected since 2016).
Most CIOs Galen interviewed have concluded that they must retire legacy applications by embracing both migration and archiving (not one or the other), but less than one third have solutions in place. They also continue to worry about the best strategy for making data accessible, accurate and secure.
Galen Healthcare Solutions, which provides IT consulting services and solutions for hospitals, large practices, health systems, and integrated delivery networks, collaborated with healthsystemCIO.com to survey 70 CIOs to identify trends in system transitions and archiving, to obtain a better understanding of the factors that affect and drive health information application and retirement.
Key Survey Findings and Observations:
- For nearly all respondents, application decommissioning, portfolio rationalization and information governance, are top-of-mind, with 97% having at least one legacy system in their portfolios that qualifies for retirement.
- Despite the urgency regarding the retirement of these legacy systems, not even one third (30%) have a data archiving solution in place. Only 14% of organizations with 100 or fewer beds have an archiving solution and less than half (45%) with 101-500 beds have one.
- Even though some may be evaluating, and most may be implementing replacements of EMRs and EHRs, there is disagreement about what types of data and how many years of data should be migrated. 90% are migrating two years or more of their data, while 54% are migrating more than 5 years-worth of healthcare information.
- Says one survey respondent: “I highly recommend no more than two years as it gets very complicated beyond that.”
- According to another, “Taking virtually all of it would be ideal, if it could be done with good data integrity and cost-effectively, but cost is often a barrier.”
- A small percentage (16%) of survey respondents prefer either migration of legacy system data or archiving only for such data, but 84% consider both data migration and data archiving as the best way to handle their EMR/EHR transitions.
- In retiring their clinical systems, healthcare delivery organizations must conform to legal data retention and eDiscovery requirements. Accordingly, 97% of respondents cited legal compliance as the biggest driver for data archiving, underscoring the importance of the legal medical record, as well as the importance of data not directly related to patients, (including contextual audit trails, referenced data in ancillary systems, data changes and version history).
- Other factors also drive EMR/EHR transition. Well over half the survey respondents (55 of 70) reported that their current systems were failing to meet present needs. Almost half (32 of 70) decided they needed to move to solutions with higher functionality and integration, and 22 of 70 were impelled to make a change because their organization aligned with another.
- “We implemented over 20 years ago,” reports one CIO, “and many of the decisions made then are negatively impacting us today.”
- “The primary driver for EMR transition in our health system has been redundancy as a result of M&A activities.”
- Even though the overwhelming majority of survey respondents have committed themselves to system transition, they take different approaches, revealing the scope of conditions and benefits they worry about. The most frequently mentioned function that needed replacement is the Enterprise Resource Planning System (31), followed by the Human Resources System (28), Electronic Medical Records/Electronic Health Records (26) and Accounts Receivable Systems (23).
- Each sector of the healthcare delivery organization receives benefits from the decommissioning of legacy systems, according to the Galen survey respondents.
- The IT Departments will significantly reduce their costs while preserving patient data.
- Clinicians will achieve greater access to patient information at the points of care.
- HIM will be better equipped to meet compliance requirements with immutable data, security, encryption and audit trails.
The Galen Healthcare Solutions Survey reveals healthcare delivery organizations caught in a conundrum. Many systems must be decommissioned, yet much of the data residing in those decommissioned systems must be maintained and be retrievable. The data that must be accessed is often sought by various departments, each with its own set of needs and functional requirements.
The challenge to each organization is therefore to employ a records management strategy that ensures accessibility, security and legal compliance, all at once, even though an organization’s capacity to preserve the integrity and completeness of the original record, especially the ability to recreate a copy of the record as it existed at the relevant time in question, may be compromised when legacy systems are decommissioned and legacy data is archived. CIOs must deal with the fact that their ability to access robust legal and clinical archives can be affected by their approaches to extraction, transformation, loading and storage of data.
To read additional findings from the Galen Healthcare Solutions Survey, please download the survey here: http://bit.ly/35QNkSu