One health system’s data archiving strategy for migrating to Epic

The technology tapped by AltaMed includes a single-sign-on interface that allows caregivers to access archived legacy information from NextGen within its new Epic EHR.

AltaMed, a 35-location health system in Southern California, recently moved from its NextGen electronic health record to an Epic EHR, which left patient records in multiple systems.

THE PROBLEM

The health system wanted to turn off NextGen so it could reduce the cost and complexity of having multiple systems up and running, but it needed to keep those legacy records easily accessible to clinicians and the healthcare information management team. AltaMed also needed to comply with record retention requirements.

Migrating all of the data to Epic was not feasible or affordable, so staff considered their options and turned to archiving. They went out to bid and chose a vendor.

“We started down the road of archiving our two NextGen data sources, which included ambulatory, dental and revenue cycle records,” recalled Emmet Jacobs, director of enterprise applications at AltaMed. “Unfortunately, the project did not go smoothly. During implementation, we found many errors in the archived data.”

It also became clear the vendor could not handle the complexity of the dental records that required extraction and migration. AltaMed had odontogram dental images to archive, which represented about 27 terabytes of unique data with special formatting that needed to be preserved to ensure the color in the images was retained. This detail is important for the dentist to see.

“As the vendor was not able to deliver the scope of work, we were forced to halt the project mid-stream,” Jacobs said. “Our support agreement with NextGen was ending soon, which drove an aggressive time line to find a better solution. It was critical that we didn’t experience a gap in accessibility to the patient records for our clinical and HIM teams.”

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