Migrations Between Cerner and Epic Require a 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.

When TidalHealth in Maryland merged two regional hospital networks; one with Cerner and one with Epic, the decision was made to utilize Epic as the go-forward system. Mark Weisman, MD, CIO at TidalHealth recently participated in a podcast to share the organization’s EHR system replacement experience with insights about legacy data decisions and lessons learned.

Dr. Weisman’s legacy data advice to other CIO’s thinking about EHR system replacements:

  • Start early with a data governance team to determine how far back and to what detail to convert into the new EHR. Involve clinicians, finance and front/back office. Allow for a one year timeline.
  • Keep it simple. Consider the ease of access to historical information for clinicians by having an archive with a Single Sign-On to the archive from the go-forward EHR.
  • Get on the cost-benefit path to realize the value of an archive, which is about 10 percent of leaving a second EHR live in his experience.

Decisions around conversion need to happen early in the EHR System Replacement Process

In almost every case, moving every piece of data to the new go-forward system simply isn’t feasible due to cost and complexity. Discrete EHR data conversions come 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, including a Cerner to Epic conversion. 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 EHRs 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 550 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 over 32% of the marketshare, 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 a  Cerner EHR system to Epic? Has the implementation already happened and there’s legacy data to be dealt with and software brands left to rationalize?

No matter what EHR platform your organization is on, our 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.

Note: This blog has been updated from an original post on March 23, 2021.

Nov 09 2022

Ready to learn more?

Contact us today to learn more about our healthcare data management solutions.

First Name *
Last Name *
Email *

Healthcare IT tips, guides, news & more delivered to your inbox

Sign me up