THE WINDWARD WIRE

Data Consolidation with Enterprise Archiving Solution (EAS) in Hospitals

Mindy Rathe
January 9, 2013

Hospitals face considerable challenges when migrating legacy data to new Hospital Information Systems (HIS) in addition to PACS. Industry analysts estimate that anywhere from 60-80% of information stored within a legacy system is not accessed on a regular basis. For hospitals, this data contains critical information about patients, and must be secured and maintained according to a variety of state and federal retention policies, including HIPAA. These applications can be spread across the organization, touching prescriptions, clinical data, billing, and outpatient activities. Each may have a different structure and are not necessarily tied together.

Where Are the Costs?

Keeping these systems operating to maintain information integrity can be quite expensive. The costs present themselves across a number of different variables. The first cost revolves around maintaining the application. Even if there is a new HIS in place, legacy data must be accessible to this HIS. In many cases, hospitals choose to maintain the application and its connectivity with the new application rather than sun-setting the legacy application and commissioning the data conversion.

The second cost revolves around the infrastructure needed to maintain these legacy applications. This includes both the hardware and the software necessary to preserve the system's integrity. It may also include the experienced personnel who understand the system. As staff retires or moves to other positions, their institutional knowledge becomes quite expensive and difficult to replace.

The final major cost surrounds the pace of change. When implementing a new HIS system while still maintaining your legacy applications, the hospital cannot take advantage of the new HIS system's features. They will still be limited by the capabilities of the old system, particularly involving existing patients. Data stored in two places makes finding information difficult. The faster a hospital moves away from the legacy applications, the faster they can move forward with the full features and benefits of the new HIS.

Better, Faster, Cheaper

Migrating data from your legacy applications into EAS provides four key operational and data integrity benefits:

  • Ingestion: EAS enables hospitals to ingest and manage data of any type easily and seamlessly. Electronic forms, EOBs, PACS files or electronic images are all easily managed by EAS. This means you have one platform to store this legacy data, enabling you to sunset applications quickly and efficiently.
  • Consolidation: EAS allows you to easily apply retention policies since the information is available in a single location. EAS eliminates questions as to whether or not you have applied policies across multiple information sources.
  • Auditability: EAS enables you to comply with internal and external transparency policies. Once data is stored within EAS, it will meet regulatory and immutability regulations, assuring ongoing compliance.
  • Backbone: EAS provides a single platform based on open standards for your entire application network. As you deploy other systems that rely on this data, you will be able to make that data accessible in standard XML formats. Whether you use a best-in-class approach or a single HIS, this legacy data can be quickly and efficiently accessed, simplifying ongoing application integration.

The Next Step

With experience in both data and document management, The Windward Group is uniquely positioned to help healthcare organizations manage the complex issues regarding their systems migrations. An organization recently reduced their IT budget significantly by deploying EAS with their HIS, yielding significant administrative benefits across multiple departments. If you are spending resources on managing legacy applications, let us show you how EAS can reduce your costs.

Contact us to learn more