Application retirement is nothing new. Large organizations from all industries have had application retirement strategies in place for a decade or more. Any time an organization outlives a large IT system (or, in many cases, that system’s vendor), retirement becomes a pressing need. These systems are costly to maintain and represent an ever-growing, significant liability the longer they exist.
As it stands today, healthcare delivery organizations have enormous sums of money tied up in infrastructure, software licensing, and support costs for one — or many — clinical system that are now deemed “legacy.” Unfortunately, retiring those legacy systems is not as simple as shuttling users to a shiny new EMR and flipping the power switch. Those legacy systems have countless millions of dollars’ worth of critical information in them, both from a continuity of care point of view and from a harrowing legal perspective. There are rules, some specific, some vague, about retaining this data. Indeed, the task at hand can be so confusing at times that many organizations punt on the entire issue and just keep those legacy systems on minimal life support. Minimal life support doesn’t always equate, however, to minimal cost and risk.
Substantial ROI can be achieved by retiring legacy EMR systems and archiving. Recently, one of our clients, a 140 bed, 350 physician hospital, sunset legacy eClinicalWorks, Hyland OnBase and Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager applications, archiving the data with VitalCenter Online Archival. Their cost savings were staggering, with $200K+ in year 1 savings, $1.4MM+ in year 2 savings, and $15MM+ in 10 year savings, yielding 97% lifetime ROI. The following legacy costs were considered when calculating ROI:
- System license / SMA costs
- Read-only / minimal license offered
- Major mandatory updates
- Hardware costs (if hosted on-prem)
- Annual maintenance
- Major upgrades (such as OS migrations / new hardware iterations)
- General infrastructure maintenance that’s maintained largely for existing legacy systems
- Hosting costs (if vendor/3rd party hosted)
- Staffing costs
- Internal support
- General IT/administration
- Costs related to lost efficiency during clinical continuity scenarios
- Finding the patient in legacy systems versus one-click style access.
Above and beyond the concrete cost savings, there are many subjective benefits to clinical data archival as well including minimization and mitigation of risk, ensuring compliance, simplification of access, and consolidation of data.
- Minimize Risk: Preserving historical patient data is the responsibility of every provider. As servers and operating systems age, they become more prone to data corruption or loss. The archiving of patient data to a simplified and more stable storage solution ensures long-term access to the right information when it’s needed for an audit or legal inquiry. Incorporating a data archive avoids the costly and cumbersome task of a full data conversion.
- Ensure Compliance: Providers are required to retain data for nearly a decade or more past the date of service. In addition, the costs of producing record for e-Discovery range from $5K to $30K/ GB (Source: Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology). Check with your legal counsel, HIM Director, medical society or AHIMA on medical record retention requirements that affect the facility type or practice specialty in your state.
- Simplify Access: We all want data at the touch of a button. Gone are the days of storing historical patient printouts in a binder or inactive medical charts in a basement or storage unit. By scanning and archiving medical documents, data, and images, the information becomes immediately accessible to those who need it.
- Consolidate Data: Decades worth of data from disparate legacy software applications is archived for immediate access via any browser-based workstation or device. Also, medical document scanning and archiving provides access to patient paper charts.
Download our free EMR data archival strategy whitepaper or request a demo to see how VitalCenter Online Archival can reliably and securely provide straightforward access to data from legacy systems.