The recent announcement that health IT giant Epic will drop fees for electronic health record (EHR) data exchange until at least 2020 is good news for healthcare providers who are faced with managing access to a rapidly growing amount of new health and operational data while maintaining legacy data for years to come. This announcement also is good news for patients, who can only benefit from providers having better access to a more complete record of their health history.
The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) reported to Congress that until now: “Developers charged fees that made it cost-prohibitive for most customers to send, receive or export electronic health information stored in EHRs, or to establish interfaces that enabled such information to be exchanged with other providers, persons, or entities.”
So what does this mean for the future of legacy healthcare data management?
Now, is the perfect time for healthcare providers to get all their “ducks in a row” by finding a solution that provides some level of access to relevant historical data that did not get converted into their go-forward system.
Harmony Healthcare IT’s Health Data Archiver offers a cost effective solution to migrate numerous legacy data sources into a single, secure archive with ROI within 18 to 24 months. An option with that solution is to make CCD/CDA summaries of historical clinical data available to systems like Epic or Cerner. CCD/CDA (Continuity of Care Document/Clinical Document Architecture) is a XML-based markup standard intended to specify the encoding, structure and semantics of clinical documents for exchange.
This CCD/CDA solution benefits healthcare providers by presenting a clinical summary at the time of service. If more history than what is presented in the CCD/CDA summary is needed, quick and easy access to a complete archive of the patient’s data is also available.
Utilizing a single, consolidated archive environment makes sense, because it is:
- HIPAA compliant
- A virtualized solution that is easily deployed into an existing infrastructure, or can be remotely hosted
- Open source architecture which keeps recurring costs down
- Easy to access to view or print entire (or portions of) historical records
- A single source for accessing historical source system data
- A repository for both discrete data elements and scanned documents
- A single vendor responsible for the extraction and archival of required data from disparate legacy systems
An electronic archive can be a positive solution on many fronts. Numerous systems can be migrated into one data archive that provides an easy method to search across decommissioned systems. The data is simple to access, and staff training is often less than 10 minutes for new and existing staff members. The ROI includes cost savings over time specifically in terms of maintenance, infrastructure and alleviating the additional personnel required to keep multiple systems alive.
Now is the time to take advantage of the “no fee data exchange” time window to migrate key clinical CCD/CDA summaries into your go-forward EHR and to store historical data away into an easy to use, effective archive. Waiting may become costly if IT giants like Epic change their minds and reinstate fees or other penalties.