5 Strategies for Data Migration in Healthcare
August 29, 2023
All data-driven businesses need to migrate their data at some point, whether it’s to the cloud, a sophisticated data management system like a data warehouse, or applications. In some instances, the data migration process can entail changing the data’s format or type to make it more usable, increase performance, make it easier to store, or for other reasons.
In healthcare, data migration is the essential process of transferring data, including patient data, between systems in a secure way that meets compliance requirements, such as those set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Data migration can include moving information from a data platform or legacy system to a modern electronic health records (EHR) system that makes a patient’s medical information readily available to healthcare providers in any location.
Healthcare data is often complex, has extensive data sets, and must be secure to protect patient privacy. Here are five ways healthcare organizations can successfully migrate data:
1. Have a Detailed Data Migration Plan
This critical first step will guide and inform the entire migration. The plan should identify where healthcare data currently resides, where it needs to go, and how it’s going to get there. You’ll need to determine if this will be a full migration, which entails moving all data to a new system, like migrating on-premises data to the cloud or modernizing by moving data from a legacy patient records system to a new platform or EHR system.
Or, the migration can be done in phases over time, with the option for some data to stay in its current location or in a hybrid environment with some data in the cloud and some on-premises. The migration plan must include steps, timeframes, and responsibilities, along with identifying the tools and expertise needed to move the data. Migration tools can automate some processes for increased efficiency and to reduce the chance for manual errors.
2. Assess the Data You’ll Be Migrating
You’ll need to identify all the sources containing the data that needs to be migrated. This includes databases, files, and applications that have healthcare data. You should consider converting paper medical records to EHRs, which allows the data to be integrated for a complete patient record that’s available whenever and wherever a healthcare provider needs it. Once you know which information will be migrated and where it’s stored, the next step is to assess the data. This step determines if the data needs to be standardized or transformed to meet the new system’s requirements.
3. Understand and Follow Compliance Requirements
Healthcare is heavily regulated, which impacts data usage. You must ensure security and compliance when migrating healthcare data. This includes compliance with HIPAA and any other applicable local or state requirements. You may need to use data encryption processes and secure channels when transferring the data to ensure sensitive patient data, such as protected health information (PHI), is secure.
As part of your data migration plan, you’ll need to consider how data is protected when it’s stored, including in cloud storage. The plan may require boosting security measures to mitigate cybersecurity threats. Conducting a risk assessment can help identify any vulnerabilities or potential risks so you can resolve them before moving your data.
4. Ensure Data is in the Correct Format
Data must be in the proper format for the destination location. Some healthcare systems require data to be in a particular format or structure, which could require converting the data—without losing any of the details. Ensuring data is formatted correctly entails mapping the data, which helps you determine how information in the current system corresponds to requirements for the new system. Data mapping helps make sure different systems, apps, and databases can seamlessly share data by showing the relationships of data elements in the different systems. Mapping also helps ensure data is properly transformed before the migration, allowing it to be easily ingested and integrated with other data.
5. Check for Data Quality Issues
Any data quality problems, such as incomplete or missing information, will be migrated along with the data. That’s why it’s important to fix any problems now—correct errors, eliminate duplicate records, and make sure your data is accurate, timely, and complete before moving it. Data cleansing can give you confidence in your healthcare data. Likewise, implementing a data quality management program is one way to keep data clean and accurate. After the migration, data should be checked to ensure details were not lost or inadvertently changed in transit and to verify the data quality. Testing the data post-migration is essential to ensure it meets your usability requirements and the new system is performing properly.
Healthcare Data Requires a Comprehensive Migration Strategy
Actian can help healthcare providers and other organizations create and implement a detailed data management strategy to meet their particular needs. We can also make sure your data is secure, yet easy to use and readily available to those who need it. We’ll help you migrate data for cloud storage, data protection, healthcare data analytics, or other business goals. With the Actian Data Platform, you can easily build data pipelines to current and new data sources, and easily connect, manage, and analyze data to drive insights and prevent data silos.
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