Building the Right Team for Hospital Legacy Data Archiving Projects
February 8, 2024 | Legacy Medical Records

Building the Right Team for Hospital Legacy Data Archiving Projects

Discover why having the right team in place is critical for any legacy data archiving project.

Having the right team in place can make or break any healthcare document management project. This is especially true when migrating legacy data to a new platform. It’s a substantial undertaking with little room for error. Healthcare organizations need leaders and staff who can manage the entire processfrom vendor engagement to project completion on time and within budget.

When done correctly, a modernized approach to managing legacy data empowers clinicians and staff, reduces costs and security vulnerabilities, and promotes high-quality patient care. In fact, novel approaches to healthcare document management streamline these projects exponentially — and, as a result, support clinicians in providing holistic, effective care.

The time to form a skilled team charged with legacy data migration is long before the archiving project begins. In fact, several members of the team should already be in place as the organization embarks on its journey to evaluate data archiving solutions.

Planning ahead helps avoid unexpected problems such as hardware failure in your legacy system or a security breach that can lead to critical data loss, patient safety concerns, and other risks. Even if the project isn’t something on the immediate horizon, creating the team in advance helps organizations mitigate problems and ensure successful project execution. 

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

Who Should Be a Part of the Archived Records Team?

Who Should Be A Part Of The Archived Records Team?

One of the most important members of the team is an executive sponsor. This individual — typically a senior management professional involved in every step of the healthcare document management project — understands and speaks clearly to both the reasons why data needs to be archived and the challenges that staff, clinicians, and patients currently face. They secure funding for the project and reiterate the importance of the archived records in delivering high-quality, timely, and safe patient care. Unresolved issues are typically escalated to executive sponsors — meaning they play a vital role in addressing barriers and overcoming challenges as they occur.

Equally important is a project manager who sets realistic timelines and expectations, coordinates between many different subject matter experts, identifies project goals, and establishes stakeholder roles and responsibilities. This individual, who usually joins the data archiving team right after the organization signs a vendor contract, is responsible for holding everyone accountable and keeping the entire legacy data project on schedule. They also identify and manage potential risks including data loss, system disruptions, and unforeseen challenges, and ensure compliance with company data policies, legal requirements, and industry regulations.

In addition, organizations should involve a network administrator to provide necessary network access, data extraction, and other technical expertise. The network administrator typically participates in initial vendor product demonstrations and provides some of the key information vendors need (e.g., database sizes and database types to archive) to ensure accurate price quotes. Because the speed of data extraction dictates timelines, it’s critical to involve this person early and often to meet stakeholder expectations.

The healthcare document management team should also include an application administrator. They provide input regarding application configuration to ensure the vendor’s platform will meet the organization’s needs, such as whether the solution allows for simple and efficient data retrieval. They also review service-level agreements, evaluate the performance capabilities and scalability of the platform, ensure the vendor has a solid archiving plan that protects data integrity and accuracy, and check compliance and security measures.

The archived records team should also include various business leads, including a superuser to whom others can turn to when questions about handling legacy data arise. In addition, the team should include clinical subject matter experts. The best practice is to provide these individuals with single sign-on integration from the main electronic medical record (EMR) so they can validate workflows and ensure the legacy data transfers seamlessly. Clinical subject matter experts can also evaluate the user interface to make sure it’s intuitive for care teams.

Who Is Typically on the Vendor’s Healthcare Document Management Team?

The data archiving vendor’s team usually includes a project manager, consultants with strong clinical and implementation backgrounds, technical experts to extract legacy data and focus on archive environment setup and teardown, data modelers to migrate the data into the new system, and auditors to validate results and report exceptions. This team works side by side with the hospital to follow the project plan.

What Role Does the Archived Records Team Play in the Overall Project?

The team is only one piece of the puzzle, albeit an important one. It’s how these individuals work together to complete critical steps that matters most. More specifically, the team accomplishes these important tasks:

  • Aligns legacy data projects with strategic goals.

    The archived records team looks ahead to ensure the organization’s healthcare document management strategy helps simplify the EMR portfolio and plans for system transitions during mergers and acquisitions. It’s all about prioritizing projects to maximize limited resources.
  • Answers important questions.

    Who will manage legacy data? How long will the organization retain it? The team organizes and maintains this information in a formal archive policy.
  • Creates a plan to migrate legacy data.

    What specific data will the organization migrate (and retain) based on state and facility-specific requirements and other factors? The team sorts this out. For example, healthcare organizations may eventually need to securely delete legacy data from storage systems or securely discard physical records.
  • Understands and prioritizes end user needs.

    The team ensures end users — particularly clinicians and health information staff — ultimately have access to legacy data when they need it most. The team understands workflows, anticipates barriers, and proactively mitigates risk.
  • Vets potential vendors to find the most cost-effective, collaborative partner.

    The team ensures any vendor’s proposal includes the full scope of work and clearly defined deliverables.  

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

What Is the Biggest Challenge in Building an Archived Records Team?

Given today’s healthcare staffing shortages, the biggest challenge in establishing a strong team is identifying internal resources for the job. IT staff, for example, are likely pulled in many directions. The same is true for clinicians. Though larger organizations may have more operational flexibility, smaller, rural hospitals may lack the necessary internal expertise to successfully manage legacy data.

The good news is that organizations may not even need a full-time team if they partner with the right vendor that can guide staff through the process — such as one that leverages a streamlined, non-ETL approach to give organizations the ability to move legacy data without the burden of hiring new workers. In an era of healthcare staff burnout, a non-ETL approach reduces the overhead burden, allowing staff to focus on what matters most: high-quality patient care. 

When It Comes to Archiving, Don’t Go It Alone

Having the right team in place to focus on archiving legacy data can make or break the entire effort. Equally as important: a product that makes everyone’s jobs easier. Learn about Olah’s simple, fast, and complete solution for archiving medical records at

eBook: The Hospital Executive’sGuide to ManagingLegacy Applications

Olah Healthcare Technology

Written By: Olah Healthcare Technology