Ancillary Clinical System Retirement & Archiving: Considerations & Best Practices

Ancillary Clinical System Retirement & Archiving: Considerations & Best Practices


EMR replacement drives not only EMR data archiving, but also data retirement of the ancillary clinical systems that interact with the EMR. In most cases, the strategy of replacing a best-of-breed portfolio with an integrated enterprise EMR solution results in modules of the new EMR providing functionality that ancillary clinical systems previously offered. As a result, the retirement of legacy ancillary systems is pursued as part of a broader portfolio rationalization.

Ancillary care refers to the wide range of healthcare services provided to support the work of a physician. The systems used to support ancillary care can be separated into three main categories: diagnostic, therapeutic, and custodial. Diagnostic data includes laboratory tests, radiology, genetic testing, and imaging. Therapeutic data may include documentation for rehabilitation, or physical and occupational therapy. Custodial data refers to information from hospice, long-term acute care, nursing facilities, as well as urgent care. Typically, the systems that house this documentation are separated from the core clinical functions of an EMR. Some common example systems include laboratory, pharmacy, perinatal, document management, imaging/PACS, cardiology, and radiology.

The manner in which an archival system organizes data from ancillary systems, and how relationships between these systems and the primary EMR system are preserved is critical not solely for the purposes of medical continuity, but business continuity as well. A comprehensive archival solution organizes data from ancillary systems and presents it in ways that emulate the original systems’ documentation workflow.

Not only do ancillary clinical systems need to be considered in the scope and timeline of legacy system retirement, but the economic impact must be appreciated as well. When evaluating the return-on-investment of an archival solution, additional savings can be achieved from ancillary clinical system data retirement in terms of the IT support and licensing involved in maintaining those legacy systems.

Download the free whitepaper, where we present the unique archival needs of ancillary clinical systems, methods to enable preservation of integration points from the EMR/EHR to external ancillary systems, and the importance of maintaining a contextual audit log when retiring these systems.

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