Enterprise-Wide EHR Migrations Between Industry Leaders Cerner and Epic Require Solid Legacy Health Data Strategy

Summary

When faced with mergers and acquisitions, healthcare providers often consolidate their electronic health record (EHR) systems. In almost every case, moving every single byte of data to the new go-forward system simply isn’t feasible due to cost and complexity. Generally, most providers determine that it makes sense to migrate about two years-worth of clinical data into the go-forward EMR. The remaining data can be extracted and loaded into a vendor-neutral active archive, to ensure ongoing access and the ability for the legacy systems to be decommissioned, thus removing hard and soft costs from the bottom line.

Healthcare providers facing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) or application rationalization projects often streamline their IT portfolio by consolidating electronic health record (EHR) systems. In some cases, this may involve an enterprise-wide shift, navigating a migration between the EHR industry leaders, Cerner and Epic. While this type of mega migration is a big deal, so is the importance and planning for what to do with the legacy data that doesn’t convert from one system to another yet still is needed to meet record retention requirements.

For Aurora Healthcare in Wisconsin, their legacy portfolio included 32 terabytes of legacy records, 75 terabytes of images, 34 million scanned documents and other important items that needed a long-term, secure and accessible home. A specialized team from Harmony Healthcare IT helped Aurora Healthcare migrate from Cerner Millennium® to Epic and, according to Vince Trier, Director of IT Applications for Aurora at the time, created “an enterprise-wide win that exceed[ed] expectations.”

Case Study: Aurora

In almost every case, moving every single byte of data to the new go-forward system simply isn’t feasible due to cost and complexity. Discrete EHR data conversion comes with challenging mapping issues. The difficulty lies in transforming and loading clinical information from a source system to a destination system when the destination system represents formatted source system data in a different context. That’s why EMR data conversion services are so specialized and critical. Ensuring the integrity of your clinical data when it migrates from one EHR to another is vital – in fact, lives depend on it.

Generally, most providers determine that it makes sense to migrate about two years-worth of clinical data into the go-forward EMR. The remaining data, which likely will be needed to meet record retention requirements for years to come, can be extracted and loaded into a vendor-neutral active archive with secure, single sign-on capabilities to ensure ongoing access and the ability for the legacy systems to be decommissioned, thus removing hard and soft costs from the bottom line.

While the move to switch EHR systems is almost always driven by the need to streamline operations regardless of the circumstances, one thing that’s often put on the backburner is what to do with the data left behind.

Since 2006, our team of data experts has extracted, migrated, and retained billions of patient, employee or business records and petabytes of data from over 500 different clinical, financial, and administrative EHR and ERP software brands. That includes the major leading EHR brands you would expect like Allscripts, Cerner, CPSI/Evident, eClinicalWorks, Epic, GE, Greenway, Healthland, McKesson, MEDHOST, MEDITECH, NextGen and Practice Partner.

While Epic holds 28% market share and Cerner is close behind with 26%, there remain hundreds of other EHRs at play in the industry. This suggests there will be plenty of industry consolidation in the future as market forces and government regulations continue to tighten up.

Is your organization getting ready to make the jump from Cerner to Epic? Has the implementation already happened and there’s legacy data to be dealt with? Or, are there other EHR software brands to rationalize?

No matter what EHR platform your organization is on, our award-winning team is ready to talk about how instituting a HIPAA-compliant, long-term record storage solution like HealthData Archiver® can cut costs, fortify defenses, and streamline workflows for increased efficiency all around.

Let’s connect.

Mar 23 2021

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