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Kickstart Spring Cleaning: Health Systems, Legacy Data, & Your New ERP

More health system CIOs are leading their organizations to the cloud, benefiting from how a single, cloud-based ERP system can help better track supplies, improve scheduling, and lower overhead costs.

Healthcare has lagged other industries in embracing cloud solutions, but the global pandemic and rapid shift to remote work has ignited interest in investing in technology that improves remote work, physician visits, and offers the flexibility and security the changing world of work demands. As software vendors have enhanced the platforms, healthcare leaders are realizing opportunity for greater ROI and lower risk, and more are making the move to the cloud.

Don’t Let Data Bring You Down

One of the most important considerations in a cloud implementation or upgrade is data. You’ve likely heard the saying “garbage in, garbage out.” Downstream impacts of bad data can result in poor outputs and complex hack-around workflows that increase support requirements. If decision-makers base decisions on bad data, the cycle continues.

Even with the best technology, it will not deliver intended benefit without good data at its source. The new system is likely more powerful than the legacy technology the organization is used to, but leaders can still only manage what they can see, thus bad data leading to clinical and business inefficiencies.

If your organization hasn’t committed to a cloud upgrade and you’re running ERP on-premises, the clock is ticking. If your ERP vendor hasn’t announced a decommission date yet, it is still wise to expect one is on the horizon. Your IT team may not have the time or expertise for data cleansing and data movement, and there are a wide range of activities that need to happen when moving to the cloud. Addressing your data now can help maintain and improve the systems you have in place while also preparing for a cloud upgrade in the future.

The Consideration for a Clean Slate

It can be tempting to consider starting fresh, and bringing minimal or no legacy data into the new system, but this route can lead to inefficiencies and gaps down the line. You’ve likely experienced the scenario where the boss is looking for an old report after you’ve deleted it or thrown it away. Enterprise-wise, this comes up in measuring year-over-year performance, tracking trends, and being able to forecast for accurate procurement processes.

Even if your organization still has access to its old system after cloud go-live, it’s unlikely it will last long. Asking employees to manually move over data on a need-to basis will not only lead to major frustration from users, but further inefficiencies and gaps in information. Every hospital system has different metrics for determining what information they need, but a start clean approach is a risky one. That’s why transforming before you move is key to succeeding in the future.

The Data Review Breakdown

Kickoff the organization’s evolution to the future by addressing data. Here’s how to get rid of your old data habits:

  • Analyze the different types of data in place at your organization.

For example, look at the core data that is essential for day-to-day operations, historical data from years’ past, and current data from recent transactions and patients. From financial information, to clinical data, to supply chain, make sure you are covering all areas of the business.

  • Resist the common temptation to bring over more data than is actually needed.

Now that you understand the different types of data available, determine how much information to bring over and the cutoff date for old information. A frequent debate when migrating from legacy system(s) to the cloud is how much data is enough versus too much? Less is typically more, given the significant impact increased volumes of converted data has on the resources tasked with validating and testing it before moving into production. Considerations should include:

      1. Data archiving strategy to ensure that legacy data is still accessible if needed by auditors
      2. Statutory and audit reporting considerations that may dictate the number of years of history required to be converted within the new system
      3. Establish a “lookback” cutoff date – if items and vendors have not been utilized within an agreed upon duration, don’t convert
      4. Active vs. Inactive Data – converting inactive data (eg. Items and vendors no longer in use) muddies the new pristine Cloud Production environment
  • Cleanse to maintain data to the highest standards.

Remove any duplicate entries, review for any typos or incorrect capitalization, ensure information follows the same naming conventions and units of measurement, and fill in any missing information. Be as detailed and accurate as possible for improved data quality, allowing for better decision-making and improving overall productivity.

  • Have a go-forward strategy for continued data success.

Now that you’re working with clean data, it’s important to keep it clean. Keep your team informed on what is being done and how it will be beneficial. Implementing new ERP may require managing resistance and encouraging user adoption through proper training for using the new ERP.

Need help starting your data clean-up project? Avaap’s data experts bring nearly 20 years of experience in healthcare data cleansing, enhancement, and classification services with systems including Infor, Workday, McKesson, Meditech, and Peoplesoft. Get in touch today to get started!