Decommissioning Cerner; A Data Extraction, Migration and Retention Case Study

Case Study Aurora Healthcare

When Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin made a shift in its EMR system from Cerner Millennium to Epic, they faced 32 terabytes of legacy records, 75 terabytes of images and 34 million scanned documents  — all of which needed to be retained.  For a solution, Aurora turned to the archiving experts at Harmony Healthcare IT to get the help they needed to decommission its Cerner system.

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The Organization

Aurora Health Care is a large private not-for-profit integrated provider in the Midwest. More than $4 billion in annual revenue from 15 hospitals, 159 clinic sites and 70 retail pharmacies. It has more than 1.2 million unique patients with 7.8 million patient encounters annually. The organization includes 31,000 caregivers and 1,700 employed physicians.

The Situation

Migrating from Cerner to Epic, the health system was under a time crunch to decommission Cerner as its AIX/Oracle 8 platform was coming to end-of-life on support. In addition, the system retirement would return a significant savings on system maintenance costs and IT labor burden, both of which were being re-directed to the Epic implementation. The requirements of the project were to:

  • retain 100% of the patient care and system audit information for an indefinite number of years
  • access historical records via a user interface that minimized training requirements as the user base was focused on learning how to use Epic
  • preserve user access levels, ensuring ready and secure enterprise-wide accessibility to historical records
  • ensure the capability to efficiently respond to release of information requests

The Project Scope

Cerner to Epic Data Migration Archive


The Harmony Healthcare IT team analyzed the record retention policy, gathered cross-departmental system requirements and put the right resources in place to comprehensively archive all of the legacy data.

The Services Provided

  • Retention Consulting Services
  • Data Extraction
  • Data Migration
  • Data Harmonization
  • Data Scrubbing
  • Data Validation
  • Reporting
  • Support

The Results

The project was completed on time and on budget within 12 months from signature. There were 6,358 active users at the time of transition. Today, there are about 2,000 named users total, 650 of which login concurrently each day.

  • Return on Investment – less than 12 months
  • Integrity of Archived Data – data required for full compliance with audits or litigation was maintained
  • User Access Roles/Privileges – respected in the archive, including historical chart access
  • Clinical Context – user views and custom tabs preserved and applied in the archive
  • User Accounts – simple account provisioning and clean up
  • Existing Reports – clinical and administrative reports and data extracts ported over to the archive (i.e., chart access reports to information security, account provisioning/de-provisioning processes)
  • No Changes to External Dependencies – external systems and processes that relied on Cerner data continue to receive the information in original format

“Our archive is an enterprise-wide win that exceeds our expectations. The solution is smart. The training was simple. The customer service is excellent.  Mission accomplished.”  — Vince Trier, Director IT Applications for Aurora Healthcare

About Harmony Healthcare IT

Since 2006, health IT analysts at Harmony Healthcare IT have extracted demographic, financial, clinical and administrative data from more than 500 healthcare systems – both ambulatory and acute. Headquartered in South Bend, Indiana, the company employs experts in data extraction, migration, archival, integration and analytics to provide its clients with trusted solutions. Working with hundreds of systems, billions of records and terabytes of data, Harmony Healthcare IT provides clients with access to historical records. Simply.

Contact Harmony Healthcare IT

To learn more about how we can help with your healthcare organization’s Cerner decommissioning or Cerner to Epic EMR migration, contact Harmony Healthcare IT .

© 2015 Harmony Healthcare IT. All rights reserved. Cerner Millennium is a registered trademark of Cerner Corporation.

May 05 2016

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