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Today, data archiving is an essential part of an organization’s record management. Data management is highly crucial for companies that process large amounts of information. The greatest benefit of archiving data is that it reduces the cost of primary storage.
Data archiving is the process where an organization creates a long-term archive of their structured and unstructured data for reasons like compliance requirements, EMR/EHR changes, lawsuit management, storage reduction, and information governance. It is the process of moving data that is no longer actively used to a separate storage for long-term retention. Archived data consists of older data that remains important to the organization or must be retained for future reference or for regulatory compliance reasons. Data archives are indexed and have search capabilities, so files can be located and retrieved. These archives are also repositories of vast knowledge.
Healthcare data providers collect data from various sources, including patient records, medical devices, and clinical data systems. There are a number of key considerations when choosing a healthcare data partner, including the type of data required, the partner’s reliability and security, and of course, pricing.
While data is being highly valued nowadays, organizations are starting to recognize the importance of strategic data archiving. If your healthcare organization is going through a transition and has or will have legacy applications; it’s a great time to consider a healthcare data archive plan. Your old legacy system(s) contain valuable data that must be preserved. Keeping the old system running can carry high maintenance costs and be a potential security risk. . Therefore, let’s dive into the need of data archiving and explore its advantages, along with some reasons why healthcare facilities are switching archival vendors.
Table of Contents:
- Why Are Healthcare Providers Switching Archival Vendors?
- The Need For Data Archival
- Important Factors While Deciding an Archival Vendor
Why Are Healthcare Providers Switching Archival Vendors?
In June 2022, a new report from KLAS Research found that issues around missing data, missed timelines, and capacity for EMR integration were the top reasons why providers replaced their health data archiving solution or vendor, while factors such as price, sales experience, and functionality drive purchasing decisions for all providers, whether they are replacing a data archiving solution or choosing one for the first time.
The report outlines recent or upcoming data archiving purchase decisions validated by KLAS between January 2020 and December 2021 for 23 providers. It includes these providers’ perceptions of eight vendors: Harmony Healthcare IT, MediQuant, Triyam, Galen Healthcare, ELLKAY, Legacy Data Access, Clearsense, and CITI.
Triyam was the most frequently selected vendor in the sample, with customers indicating that price and the sales process were their main purchasing reasons, according to the report. Triyam’s pricing structure is seen as straightforward and flexible, and providers report positive experiences with knowledgeable Triyam business representatives.
The Need For Data Archival
Federal laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require that any records associated with HIPAA be retained for a minimum of six years starting from when the HIPAA-compliant policies were first implemented. Each state in the US also has its own set of retention laws to be followed by healthcare facilities. Such state laws usually mandate that legacy data be retained between the duration of five to twenty-five or more years, depending on the state the organization is in, and the patient’s age. As a recommended practice to overcome all the challenges ranging from retention requirements to method of data transfer, every health care organization must create a strong data archival strategy. Such a strategy is particularly important, as data archival has a profound impact on the data lifecycle of an organization.
Data archiving allows all records of different formats and data types to be moved into a single repository; thereby allowing legacy EHRs and healthcare applications to be decommissioned. By using a vendor-neutral solution, organizations can access and manage their legacy data easily- while meeting statutory requirements- which eliminates the challenges that healthcare facilities face in terms of retention requirements, operational and revenue workflows, system costs, and medical liability.
If you are migrating to a new system, you may have the option to move a portion of your legacy data into your new system. But simply migrating basic data does not satisfy data retention requirements. The migrated version can be incomplete in comparison to the original data. To ensure you have the data required for the ongoing release of information requests and financial records, a thorough data archive is the best choice.
There are many reasons to archive data which include regulatory and compliance as well as business use cases. When facilities change EHR or other systems, have mergers and/or acquisitions, have old hardware, provider(s) retiring, or facilities closing are all situations that will have a clear necessity of planning for legacy data. . Archiving the data preserves data long term so that it can be retrieved when necessary.
Some of the most important reasons to archive data include:
- Compliance Requirements
- Reducing costs
- Data loss
- Fortify defenses against cybersecurity threats
- Eliminate data conversion issues with healthcare data storage solutions
Important Factors While Deciding an Archival Vendor
- Industry Experience- It is best to work with an archival vendor that has a proven track record in the industry, with many years of experience and a deep understanding of data management services. Read reviews about the vendor online and their customer testimonials, look at the KLAS reports, and know the industry experience of the vendor. Consider the vendor’s stability and market presence in the region.
- User Experience – Consider whether you will replace your practice management system and how you will handle the conversion. Clarify roles, responsibilities, and costs for data migration strategy if desired. Sometimes, being selective with which data or how much data to migrate can influence the ease of transition.
- Compliance Protection – Ask if the vendor is HIPAA and SOC2-compliant. Healthcare organizations and providers must seek HIPAA and SOC2 compliance, as they can help improve patient care, build trust, avoid data loss, and save costs, among several other benefits.
- Customer Support – You’ll want to select a vendor that answers your requests for information in a timely manner. They should have a reputation for offering personalized care from a staff committed to making sure they always feel supported. Define implementation support (amount, schedule, information on trainers such as their communication efficiency and experience with product and company).
- Interoperability – Consider the ability to integrate with other products (e.g., practice management software, billing systems, and public health interfaces)
- Cost – Clarify pricing including costs for hardware, software, implementation assistance, training, interfaces, and ongoing network support and maintenance fees.
- Security – You need to know that your archive data is safe and ask your vendor to confirm how they’ve implemented data security.
- Hosted or on-premise options – Check with your vendor if they have cloud or on-prem options, then weigh the options and determine which archive deployment solution best fits your needs. Some healthcare organizations use their own onsite servers and equipment for data storage. Others contract with a vendor to provide off-site hosting in a secure environment.
- Customizability and Flexibility – Your archive solution needs to be able to easily ingest the various types of data your organization creates – both structured and unstructured. Understand if and how a vendor’s product will accomplish the key goals of the practice. Test-drive your specific needs with the vendor’s product. Provide the vendor with patient and office scenarios that they may use to customize their product demonstration.
- Ease of Search – Data archival serves to retain all the information which might be needed sometime in the future. As your archive grows to multiple terabytes to petabytes, your solution needs to provide an easy way to locate the specific data required at any given time. Ease of use is key to user adoption.
- Vendor Stability – You need to know that the data you’ve stored in the archive remains unchanged, and you’ll need a way to show that for audits. For this you’ll want to make sure your solution uses some sort of Write-Once-Read-Many (WORM) storage.
- Scalability – Data always grows to exceed available storage space. Your archiving solution needs to be able to expand seamlessly to match your data growth.
Triyam can be the solution for all your data archival needs
Is your healthcare organization looking for a cloud-based solution to archive your legacy data?
Triyam helps various hospitals and health systems by archiving the historical patient data from legacy EHRs and thereby decommissioning legacy systems. This helps organizations stay compliant and save money. Triyam archives the legacy data in a vendor-neutral format in its SaaS product ‘FoveaEHR Archive.’ In Fovea® , providers can easily search for a patient, view records, and download historical medical data. It is compliant with federal laws such as HIPAA, CMS, and state laws. Fovea helps organizations save money as it typically costs less than 25 percent of a legacy system.
Triyam can archive and host the data in two ways:
- Cloud: Triyam hosts Fovea EHR Archive in Microsoft Azure, and organizations can access their data using it from any browser of any device, as well as several go-forward EHRs through API interfacing.
- On-premise: The healthcare organization hosts Fovea EHR Archive locally within their Windows Server or virtual machine (VM) environment, which can also be integrated with go-forward EHRs.
A brief video on our Legacy EHR data archival solutions can be found here.
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