5 Tips to Control Costs When Archiving a Healthcare Data Platform
February 28, 2024 | Legacy Medical Records

5 Tips to Control Costs When Archiving a Healthcare Data Platform

Saving money is often the top reason an organization archives a legacy healthcare data platform. But costs can quickly balloon. Learn how to contain them.

Archiving legacy health data systems is widely seen as a cost-saving measure. In fact, 85% of healthcare organizations that have archived and retired legacy systems report positive financial impacts. And in a highly competitive industry, cutting unnecessary expenses is critical, opening the door for funds to be redirected toward high-quality patient care.

Let’s look at the financial benefits of data archiving and several ways you can ensure you’re not going over budget or wasting valuable resources when undertaking an archiving project. 

Download the White Paper: Common Myths About Archiving Legacy Healthcare  Systems

How Healthcare Data Archiving Solutions Promote Cost Containment

When archiving a healthcare data platform, organizations that partner with the right vendor typically derive savings in the following ways:

  • Licensing costs.

     You no longer need to worry about paying annual or monthly licensing fees for legacy applications.
  • Maintenance costs.

     You don’t have to pay to monitor and update legacy systems that continue to put your organization at an operational disadvantage while simultaneously increasing security risk.
  • Hardware costs.

     Say goodbye to older operating systems tied to physical hardware as you shift new OSes to the cloud.
  • Productivity.

     Costs associated with lost productivity are eliminated, because users can quickly and efficiently access legacy data in a single system. Leaders also no longer need to deal with costly fines incurred when outdated technology prevents the extraction of information in a timely manner for compliance and regulatory needs, like audits, release of information requests, or other information blocking requirements.
  • Care-related costs.

     Maintaining legacy systems jeopardizes patient safety and care quality if critical information is difficult to access, leading to a whole host of other financial implications like malpractice claims, which can be reduced with the help of the right archiving solution.
  • Security breaches.

    By eliminating unsupported technology, you promote healthcare data security and avoid costs associated with security breaches (often $429 per stolen or lost record).

Warning Signs You Might Be Paying Too Much for an Archiving Project

Taking the first step to archive your healthcare data platform is a positive one, but when you don't choose the vendor and solution that gets the job done right, archiving projects can actually increase costs rather than reduce them. This includes costs associated with additional time and materials when archiving projects are delayed. There are four big warning signs you could be overpaying for your current archiving solution: 

  1. End users are continually dissatisfied because they can’t access critical information in a timely manner. 
  2. The costs associated with data archiving continue to increase year over year without any additional systems added. 
  3. You haven’t achieved a financial return on your investment. 
  4. Your data archiving solution cannot accommodate future strategic goals.

How to Avoid Hidden or Escalating Costs With Data Archiving Solutions

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid overpaying for medical data extraction and contain costs during your partnership with a vendor. Consider these five tips when shifting to a new healthcare data platform.

Tip #1: Be proactive.

Long before you officially start exploring archiving solutions, identify the specific legacy systems you want to archive. Then prioritize those systems based on level of importance, cybersecurity concerns, ongoing maintenance costs, and other factors. While you’re at it, evaluate your organization’s data retention policies and perform ongoing audits to determine what data you access and how often, as well as which data is most important to the organization. Remove all data that you don’t need to archive.

Why this is important:

Being proactive helps ensure your organization sees the maximum benefits from a new healthcare data platform immediately and in the long term. It also prevents you from spending money on archiving systems and data unnecessarily. The right archiving solutions vendor can help you narrow the scope of the data archiving project to determine what specific applications to archive and exactly what it will cost you.

Tip #2: Lean on subject matter experts (SME).

Assemble a small team of SMEs who can assist with medical data extraction out of legacy systems. SMEs can also help validate data in the new healthcare data platform to ensure it’s accurate and easy to read by end users.  

Why this is important:

SMEs have in-depth knowledge of the data and can easily identify errors and streamline the entire archiving project, thereby reducing the overall timeline. The longer an archiving project takes, the more money you lose. The goal is to be as efficient as possible without cutting corners.

Tip #3: Distinguish between features that are ‘nice to have’ versus ‘absolutely necessary.’

Data archiving solutions provide a variety of features that your organization may or may not need depending on your strategic goals and challenges. For example, you may not need retention policy functionality. Many organizations also don’t typically need integration between the legacy system and new EHR.

As you make your list of mandatory features, be sure to think about the future. Start to monitor data usage patterns so you can forecast future storage needs. What may not be a “must-have” healthcare data platform feature today could easily become one in the months ahead. 

Why this is important:

Figuring out what you want versus what you need prevents you from overspending on features that you won’t use or that you could do without.

Tip #4: Be on the lookout for hidden costs.

Not all costs associated with archiving a healthcare data platform may be apparent at first glance or during initial conversations with archiving solutions vendors. For example, tiered pricing models may look inexpensive; however, once you sign on the dotted line and begin the project, you quickly realize you’re going to end up paying much more than the baseline dollar amount because a dramatic price increase kicks in after you hit a certain threshold of archived records. Archiving projects often end up including more records than you originally anticipated. This leads to unexpected, skyrocketing prices. A better option is a flat fee per archive with a recurring fee to access the archiving software. With this option, there are no surprises. Cost structures are transparent and flexible so minor changes don’t increase your costs.

There are other hidden costs as well. For example, you might pay more to add additional users or access critical features that are otherwise locked behind paywalls.  

Why this is important:

Hidden costs are just that—hidden. You don’t expect them, so you’re not prepared for them. The result? They can easily inflate the entire budget and leave you wondering what happened to the cost savings you thought were a selling point of the solution in the first place. 

Tip #5: Avoid onsite data storage.

Onsite servers require monetary investment in infrastructure and hardware as well as physical space and a team to maintain it all. Servers may also be susceptible to data loss during disasters. A much safer, more economical choice is cloud storage. 

Why this is important:

One of the many goals of data archiving is to reduce costs. This means not relying on onsite servers. Leveraging cloud storage can dramatically decrease overall costs of an archiving project.

A Fast and Cost-Efficient Solution for Healthcare Data Archiving

Time is money, and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to data archiving projects. While some data archiving solutions vendors can only address five legacy systems per year, others take a more modernized approach to tackle dozens of systems at once, often performing at much higher speeds and decreasing validation time.

However, there are so many other factors that affect cost as well. When done well, healthcare data archiving projects should reduce overall costs—not increase them. Contact us today to learn more about Olah’s simple, fast, and complete solution to archiving.

eBook: The Hospital Executive’sGuide to ManagingLegacy Applications

Olah Healthcare Technology

Written By: Olah Healthcare Technology