EMR Data Archival Issues for Medical Practices

EMR data archival projects

At some point, every medical practice will need to confront the issue of old medical records: 

  • Paper charts that were never scanned into an EMR system 
  • Old PM/EMR systems that were never fully converted to a new system 
  • Dormant systems due to practice closing, mergers, acquisitions or retirement 
  • EMR systems that are being paid for read only access
  • Physicians that are leaving practice or are being bough by a larger group

These legacy EMR records need to be retained for legal, compliance and clinical reasons, creating problems like these for practices: 

  • Expense of maintaining space for paper charts, manual retrieval when needed, and copying/scanning when requested 
  • Cost of maintaining/updating old server environment 
  • Expense of paying software maintenance for dormant software 
  • Security vulnerability of outdated hardware, software and operating systems 

EMR data archival solution

As practices shift from manual records to EHRs, or one EHR to another, the focus is now on how to finally retire the old systems while still complying with requirements.

EMR data archival output record

Old PM systems and their financial data are also good candidates for archival once the existing AR is run down. 

The solution is Data Archival. With Data Archival, all the old data needing to be preserved is extracted and made available to the staff in a compact and portable format.

Learn more about EMR data archival projects with Micro Office Systems.

Considerations for the archive project

When considering the archival solution, it is important to identify the needs of the practice and ensure the archive process will accomplish them. Examples of these needs might be: 

  • Providing copies of medical records to patients and their representatives 
  • Providing selective extracts of a medical record 
  • Complying with audit requests 
  • Worker’s Compensation or other legal documentation needed years after services rendered 

Important bottom line measures:  

  • Extraction: The extraction must be complete and accurate enough to enable shutdown of the old system 
  • Functionality: the archive must include the functionality to accomplish any remaining needs going forward 

Vendor selection EMR data archive projects

EMR Data Archival is a highly specialized service.  

  • The vendor must have deep experience and knowledge of the old system type in order to ensure the data is extracted completely and accurately.   
  • The collaboration and ease of communications between the vendor and practice is key to the successful outcome of the project.  
  • Often, certain kinds of important information are stored in atypical places, and the discovery process is critical to ensure it is not missed. This also means that the vendor must be able and willing to customize the archival to accommodate those needs.  
  • Finally, the vendor needs to provide the tools and functionality so that the archive can serve the needs you have. 

Other things to look for: track record, reputation, longevity and security. With security, you want to ensure that your vendor is controlling the access to your data throughout the entire process. 

How partners add value 

Partners can add value in the following ways:

  • Helping clients to understand the value of turning off an old system.  Monthly fees add up fast.
  • Reviewing the software and hardware obsolescence policies and liability in operating past these dates
  • What are the record retention policies in the state and separate policies for CMS
  • Preparing the doctors for how the record will look in the archive system, including how the records are selected
  • Determining a test process between the trial and final archive runs
  • Training doctors and staff on utilizing the archive system

EMR data archival projects have many moving parts and show significant long term cost savings.  Turning off an old EMR, for cost savings or HIPAA liability both drive savings.

Partners play an important role in these projects in setting expectations, clarifying technical issues and ensuring a usable output form for their clients.

Micro Office Systems has created a proprietary tool, Conversion Master, that brings speed, accuracy and completeness to each archive project.

For a list of systems we work with, please visit our website.

To learn more about our archive service please visit our EMR archive page, or for a short video that is focused on practices, please visit our archive Linkedin page