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Merging two or more healthcare delivery organizations presents information technology and data challenges. Which EMR system stays? Which one goes? What other duplicate clinical, financial, accounting, materials management and human resources systems need to get decommissioned? The process of evaluating and determining which system becomes legacy and how the data from that system will get preserved to meet record retention mandates and be available to HIM and clinicians is an important one that can impact the success of a merger or acquisition.
Harmony Healthcare IT is regularly called upon to strategize and execute on a legacy data management plan as a result of Acquiring and Merging healthcare systems. That plan may entail extraction, migration, conversion, retention or all of the above. Generally speaking, the business value of adopting an active archive to keep legacy records secured, searchable, manageable, and HIPAA-compliant is in the best interest of the organization. A return on investment is generally realized within 18-24 months by shedding costs from legacy system licensing, maintenance, support, and the internal IT labor burden.
“We’re really looking at the cost savings aspect of it. We have a legal obligation to protect those records for a long time.”
Harmony Healthcare IT is well equipped to extract, convert and migrate data from over 550 clinical, financial and administrative software brands. As your M&A team continues to evaluate future opportunities, you’ve got a secure and trusted data storage platform you can continue to deploy, which doesn’t limit your options for organizational growth.
Minimizing the number of redundant or out-of-production applications is a key ingredient to the long-term success of a merger or acquisition. Working with a trusted health data management partner like Harmony Healthcare IT helps provider organizations keep their IT portfolio streamlined, projects on target and budgets under control. By simplifying the environment—as much as possible—to one go-forward EHR and one active archive for legacy clinical data, there are cost, workflow and security benefits to be realized. Plus, there is a strategy put in place to help manage technology decisions and leverage discounted pricing when additional organizations are added through M&A.
HealthData ArchiverTM, Harmony Healthcare IT’s long-term legacy record storage platform, is easily integrated through Single Sign On (SSO) with go-forward EHRs like Epic, Cerner, Allscripts and athenaNet. For those EHRs with community interoperability offerings (i.e., Epic Community Connect or Cerner CommunityWorks), a tailored pricing schema for data migration and retention may be provided by Harmony Healthcare IT. This allows for a predictable onboarding process as community hospitals, ambulatory clinics or other entities connect to a larger EHR network.
Hospitals often have multiple EHR platforms in use due to historical factors, mergers and acquisitions or department-specific needs. When there is a merger or acquisition, EHR technology often is inherited from the newly-joined entity. Suddenly the cost of maintaining two (or more) systems hits the bottom line. Many healthcare organizations have decided to consolidate their infrastructure and implement a single enterprise-wide EHR solution. This triggers a decision about how to manage legacy data that still needs to be retained to meet regulatory requirements like the 21st Century Cures Act. Active archives support this consolidation and ensure the clinical, financial, and business records are secure and accessible to meet interoperability, compliance, and regulatory requirements.
The first steps to rationalize a technology portfolio during a merger or acquisition are to take inventory of which applications each acquired hospital or clinic uses. Next, decide which applications require immediate attention. Be sure to pay attention to the application’s direct costs, maintenance agreements, security vulnerabilities, and whether the data is hosted on-prem or with the source application vendor. Next, create a rationalization playbook to ensure there is a consistent strategy for the future across multiple M&As. It also is important to include a budget for this work and establish a cross-sectional governance team that will help guide current and future data management initiatives.
It is important to plan early for rationalization during the merger and acquisition process to save time, money, and stress. Some large healthcare organizations can have 30-40 legacy systems that are kept up and running in read-only mode. These systems deliver little production value, yet account for substantial maintenance costs. It may be a smart move to decommission and archive more expensive applications sooner rather than later.
When there is a decision to implement one EHR across the organization, this can trigger decisions about migrating and converting some (usually the most recent 18-24 months) of the data to the new system and migrating the rest to an archive. This can be a cost-effective and efficient data management move that serves the organization by reducing the number of in-production applications, while maintaining access for clinical, release of information or legal needs.
A roadmap for healthcare providers implementing best practices for managing legacy data.
Learn best practices of application portfolio management (APM)—a method by which cost and risk is reduced and data is consolidated.
A legacy data solution that fits into an efficient clinical workflow for physicians and medical scribes.