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The whys and hows of EHR migration to the cloud

August 12, 2022
Business Affairs Health IT
From the September 2022 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

● Policies
● Security architecture
● Dependencies
● Compatibility
● User interactions

Without knowing their system in and out, the EHR owner can miss significant gaps and fail to plan the transition accurately.

For instance, a legacy on-premises EHR can contain a specific patient record with “seafood allergy” entered in plain text. To ensure the successful migration of each patient’s history into a cloud-based EHR, this “seafood allergy” record should be translated and codified according to ICD-10, referencing a specific shellfish allergy. At the same time, the plain-text record should be automatically deleted to avoid duplicating the information.

Without a proper translation and mapping of allergies to the new EHR, it won’t be able to trigger respective patient safety alerts, for example in case of drug allergies.

Additionally, the EHR migration team should be assembled according to the following criteria:

● It should be led by an experienced project manager and a business analyst.
● It should include health specialists who are the end users of the current EHR. They will be the early adopters of the new cloud-based system and help other clinicians become familiar with it.
● It should have a dedicated expert who will analyze the vendors according to their bandwidth requirements, SLA, and escalation policies for eliminating connection lags and downtimes during technical support.

2. Decide on virtualization
Virtualization is the method of delivering complex applications, such as EHRs, by offloading them into a virtual ecosystem that isolates and secures big data sets for performing big data analytics in the future.

● Application packages and streaming: The system is deployed to a server and streamed to the endpoint as a package. It allows tucking specific network settings, policies, and drivers into an application.
● Hosted applications: This option is similar to streaming, but a hosted application is deployed to a virtual server instead of a physical one. Hosted apps can feature complex architectures with shared secure access for a wide range of users.
● Virtual desktops: Here, specific solutions are deployed to virtual desktops with policy-based access, allowing system administrators to make user actions visible and controllable.

3. Ensure maximal data security and accessibility
The system must remain accessible during migration, otherwise, healthcare organizations risk their EHR productivity and even patient safety. The catch is that it’s impossible to move all the data at once during the transition for these three reasons:

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