Why Budget Alignment is Critical (for Hospital Data Archiving)

In the ever growing world of healthcare, big data is very important to protect and access. But some hospitals and health systems often underestimate and/or under budget for their data storage and archiving plans leading to costly mistakes and greater challenges down the road. While cost is essential and time is critical, there should be no shortcuts in selecting a data archiving strategy for your hospital’s data system. Having a carefully thought out budget and clear timeline should be the first step in your data archiving journey. Dr. Shelly Disser, Vice President of Innovation and Collaboration at MediQuant, the leading innovator and provider of enterprise-active archiving solutions to hospitals and health systems, shares an informative article at HIT Consultant on why budget alignment is critical for stakeholders to consider in a hospital’s data archiving plan.

From the moment a new electronic health record (EHR) system is selected the data archiving journey begins, says Dr. Disser. She breaks down that at surface glance, the data archiving process involves three main steps: data extraction, data conversion and data migration. What happens in between is so complex, which is where you cannot skimp on costs, time and experience. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” system for data archiving, there are some best practices to follow to have a solid archiving plan. Dr. Disser explains them below:

  1. Establish Long-Term GoalsPrioritize Managing Legacy System Data.  “Start the archiving project along with the EHR transition by setting definite goals and a distinct plan with a tentative go-live date. This can include discontinuing legacy applications, creating a unified archive for all patient data, seamlessly integrating it with the new EHR, ensuring comprehensive record access for clinicians, meeting regulatory storage requirements, expediting medical information requests, and preparing for future data needs and regulations.”
  2. Set a Budget That Matches the Goals. “The budget and goals should account for what each stakeholder needs to do with the data today and in the future. For example, non-discrete data archiving – involving file types such as PDFs and images – is less expensive but has critical limitations. By comparison, discrete data helps with use cases across teams and has the flexibility to allow for future demands. It can ensure success with things like HIM requests and complete compliance with Information Blocking. The wrong archival procedure to meet these needs often leads organizations to revamp and revise later. Beware of automated archiving methods that extract data in one large PDF. These are indeed fast and cheap but do not make crucial information either searchable or useable.”
  3. Create an Archiving Project Team. “Effective planning involves assembling a diverse team of stakeholders for an archiving project, drawing from various departments including clinicians, IT, HIM, legal, finance, and external resources if needed. Subject matter experts play a crucial role in understanding workflow intricacies and aiding in data validation. It’s essential to engage these experts early in the process, before they transition to new systems. This interdisciplinary team structure ensures a comprehensive approach to project oversight, data entry, and database management. However, it also requires careful consideration of the team’s existing commitments and potential external resource requirements, all of which should be factored into the budgeting process to prevent undue disruptions to the project or workflow.”

It is very important to note that is no substitution for experience and methodology when choosing an archiving partner. Again, time and money will be a factor for stakeholders and decision-makers, but having the rightfully experience archiving partner will pay for itself in having a solid and smooth archiving plan. You also should trust that your archiving partner knows what to look for and how to extract your data when it comes to the start of the project. Nothing is more valuable than data for hospitals and any business in fact. There are no shortcuts to securing, accessing and properly storing your data. Dr. Disser concludes that choosing the best archiving partner for collaboration and the alignment of collective objectives among stakeholders will result in optimized patient care while meeting compliance, legal and research needs – now and in the future.


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