Pros and Cons of Common Migration Strategies

    July 2020 | Steve Leroux, Director of MIS Services

    News and Events, Data Preservation & Migration

    Forward Advantage has worked with many organizations on their journey to Expanse. This 3-part blog series shares tips and strategies for  streamlining your transition and preserving your valuable data.

    This installment discusses the pros and cons associated with different approaches to migrating legacy data.



    Finding the Right Solution for You

    Did you know that a typical data conversion into MEDITECH can take two to four years? This is a viable option for many hospitals, but it may not be realistic for others depending upon resources and budget. Alternatively, the same data conversion into the Historical Archive Viewer takes approximately six months. There are many factors to consider before deciding which migration approach best suits your organization, and Forward Advantage is here to guide you. We have performed hundreds of document conversions into MEDITECH and several into other systems. See below for a breakdown of the pros and cons associated with each migration approach.


    Understand Your Options 

    There are many options and strategies for managing your legacy data when migrating to MEDITECH Expanse or another EHRThe four common types of migrations include: 

    1. Complete Migration to New EHR 

    This option is for those wishing to do a complete transfer of all documentation into the new system. This is great for organizations that want the benefit of having all information available in a single place, while also avoiding legacy system maintenance and fees. However, there are also drawbacks to this approach (which I outline in the next section). For instance, this is the most complicated, lengthy and costly migration option. A total migration to a new EHR can strain the budgets and internal resources of unprepared organizations. Additionally, any data flaws from the legacy system are brought forward into the new system. This might be okay for some - but for others, it may be best to start fresh in the new system.

    2. Partial Migration 

    A partial migration solves the issue of what to do with your legacy data – especially when data is flawed (as mentioned above) and you don’t want it carried over to the new system. The downfall here is that maintaining a legacy system is costly and consumes valuable internal resources. On-premise systems require hardware, and with hardware comes electricity, storage, backup, and other overhead costs. Additionally, what happens if the unsupported legacy system becomes non-functional? Overtime, this can create workflow and security gaps. 

    3. Migrate to an Archive Viewer 

    Your third option when evaluating migration approaches is to migrate to an archive viewer. This removes the burden of maintaining costly legacy systems and vastly reduces the timeeffort and expense associated with the data conversion. Archive viewers typically support multiple file formats, so files can be left in their original format which saves time and effort and ensures they maintain the same appearance, quality and file size. Downsides to consider include possible loss of some key automation or analytics from years of data and documentation. 

    4. Migrate to New EHR + Archive Viewer 

    The final option for a migration is to migrate to the new EHR and utilize an archive viewer. Archive viewers can be used as short-term or long-term storage solution. This means it can temporarily house legacy data during your migration, allowing you to quickly discontinue your legacy system. Alternatively, an archive viewer can be used as permanent storage for legacy data you don’t want migrated to the new EHR. 


    The Pros and Cons 

    Whether you decide to fully or partially convert into a new system, leverage an archive viewer, or maintain a legacy system, there are pros and cons with each approach. This includes level of complexity, project time, amount of resources required, and associated cost. See the below chart for a quick breakdown of the pros and cons associated with each migration approach. Your migration consultant will help you select the approach that makes the most sense for your organization. 

    THe pros and Cons of each Migration Option


    Key Takeaways

    There are several different methods and options to consider when migrating to MEDITECH Expanse. Remember to identify your unique needs and find a solution that best fits your policies, workflows, resources and budget. 

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