Impact Insights

Top 4 Factors to Consider in Your Archival Prioritization Strategy

Kelly Maggiore

When prioritizing systems for an archival project, the order in which the systems are to be archived should be based off objective metrics and scoring rather than subjective – or personal – choices. Systems that have higher cost, higher system content, or higher risk of data loss should be scored higher and archived earlier in the project timeline than inexpensive, small, low-risk systems.

Below are four key factors to consider during an archival system prioritization exercise.

1. High monthly costs – Applications that are no longer in use but have significant ongoing support and maintenance, employee, hardware or other costs should be scored higher than applications with lower costs. These high-cost applications will have a higher return on investment once archived and support is cancelled.

2. High system content/volume – Systems with high record or encounter counts, large database size, or that were in use for a long period of time will likely contain a larger portion of the organization’s patient population and be accessed more often by a wider group of end users in the organization than a smaller application.

3. Systems with high risk of potential data loss – Loss of data or loss of access can be a huge detriment to organizations and patients, as critical data can no longer be accessed for patient care or released, per the organization’s legal requirements. Systems that can be at risk for data or access loss include the following:

  • Support and maintenance discontinued but records are still accessed
  • Lack of in-house application expertise for troubleshooting, upgrades or recovering records
  • Backup and recovery processes are not in place or not achievable
  • Longer medical records retention
  • Hardware or software is at end of life or unsupported
  • End-user access cannot be added for new end users

4. Significant organizational/political/strategic impact – Systems that have a high impact on the organization should be ranked higher when it comes to prioritizing. The archival of these systems could serve a strategic goal (e.g., consolidating to one EMR/LMR or reporting requirements for ACO or population health) or have a high political impact due to system issues or importance of data.

Keeping these four factors in mind will ensure success during your prioritization exercise. Creating scoring for the items above and calculating an overall priority score per system will help your organization gain an objective view of which systems to archive first.