All Data Storage is Not Equal: Meet Your Archives – Active and Deep

Server Room Data Storage

Data is in a race. And, it’s gaining momentum.

By 2025, global estimates suggest 463 exabytes of data will be created each day. While it is difficult to picture the overall volume of data in the world, one visual is that with 44 zettabytes of data in the current digital universe, this represents 40 times more bytes than stars in the observable universe.

Then, consider that the overall volume of all electronic data realistically doubles every two years. And, that healthcare data outperforms this estimate and is expected to be the highest data growth business sector with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36 percent through 2025.

One thing is clear. The volume of health information continues to skyrocket.

Big Data is a Big Job
Experts realize the potential for big data to improve patient outcomes and population health, while at the same time warning that without proper governance models, interoperability standards and developer platforms, the flood of medical information being collected and stored could become unmanageable.

Archives Offer Solutions – Know Your Options
It is a smart and economical choice to engage an archive, or two, to support the long-term data management strategy for your healthcare organization. However, not all archives serve the same goals, so it is important to understand the key features of the distinct models.

Note: One important point to remember is that backups are NOT archives. Having a backup copy of your data is a necessary security measure, but without searchability, backups are very different than an archive.

Active Archive – An active archive gives you access to your data, all the time. There is a process to determine which data is stored in an active archive and healthcare organizations are assured of secure long-term (to indefinite) access to legacy EHR data. An active archive is a combined solution of open systems applications, disk, and tape hardware that gives users an effortless means to store and manage data. Using this intelligent data management framework, cost reduction per Terabyte can be up to 75%. (Source: Our HealthData Archiver® (HDA) is an example of an active archive with its easy-to-use interface that allows healthcare professionals to query, search, view, addend and even purge specific EHR or ERP data. It also alleviates the costs and hassles of maintaining out-of-date platforms and vulnerable legacy software systems.

Deep Archive – or Deep Storage, is suited to cases in which a raw form of data is retained, but, does not require frequent or immediate access when needed. For example, a vendor like Harmony Healthcare IT may store the raw data and, with lead time, provide access to it for a client as needed, under contract. Or a provider may retain the data in deep storage themselves. In healthcare, deep archives might account for about 25% of legacy data – or more, as desired, as alternative storage. The data could be needed and accessed at some point to satisfy an eDiscovery need or some other unknown purpose, but it is not needed on a regular or immediate basis.  (Source:

More Changes on the Horizon — Are our current EHRs up to the challenge?
Managing current and legacy data is a juggling exercise that takes a truly integrated team effort and robust EHR systems. It’s estimated that the 1,000 EHR vendors ten years ago has dwindled to about 400 who are racing to improve their products to deliver expanded functionality to continue to compete. In a Harris Poll survey of 521 physicians for a Stanford Medicine research project, seven out of ten physicians (67%) think solving interoperability deficiencies should be the top priority for EHRs in the next decade.  In that same survey, six out of ten physicians (59%) think EHRs need a complete overhaul. With those thoughts in mind, we see a lot of system replacements and market consolidation continuing in the future.

As production EHR systems and technologies continue to evolve, archives will continue to play a critical role in shoring up disparate legacy records from systems that become sidelined for one reason or another.

Our team is versed and experienced in archives. We can help you navigate your legacy data management strategy to be the most efficient and cost-effective process for your organization.

Are you ready to talk about archives? We can go deep (and/or active). Contact us today.

Note: Content has been updated from a blog that originally posted Jun. 6, 2018.

Nov 12 2020

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