Legacy data is any data that your organization has lying around in obsolete formats that isn’t accessed regularly but is, instead, held for regulatory purposes. While that may sound innocuous enough, it can be an enormous problem for healthcare providers, says Bridget Group (LinkedIn), Corporate Counsel of Harmony Healthcare IT.
Typically the data is held in systems which are long out of date and lack the security features that are prudent for the current environment. The hardware is equally problematic, tending to be unstable with long downtimes and high maintenance costs. That can make it hard to meet the requirements of HIPAA and the 21st Century Cures Act.
So what should healthcare providers do to manage this challenge?
First, she recommends setting up a registry of all the systems across the enterprise to get a handle on what data is available and where it is. The IT department and health information management team can both be helpful.
Take the time to understand the retention requirements for the data under both Federal and State laws, the latter of which can be the more restrictive.
Then, if you don’t have one already, set up a data governance board, with the charge to identify health information captured across the organization, understand the purpose of the data, who can access it and how long it must be kept for. The board can and should create policies for retention, destruction and access.
Be sure also to train the workforce so it understands its obligations.
Finally, she advises moving data into an archiving solution, the cloud or a data warehouse and off of those legacy systems.
Listen in to learn more about how to keep legacy data from damaging your organization’s legacy.