Are you planning to migrate from your Healthcare legacy systems to a modern system? – Here are the things to keep in mind

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Healthcare Technology is ever changing; the design and platform used nowadays could very well become redundant after 2 to 5 years. The increased use of automation within healthcare is not helping, as organizations are required to take immediate action to migrate and replace discontinued legacy systems.

For organizations, migrating from old architecture to the latest technology is difficult as it requires careful consideration. Furthermore, management needs to understand whether relocation requires migration of data into a new system, migration of application functionality, or both.

Migrating the healthcare legacy system to a modern system is like a sticky wicket. It involves the migration of principal business applications—functions that are deeply rooted in a healthcare organization’s workflow. Furthermore, they can also be difficult, as they involve numerous clinical and business systems, and require a major upfront investment in hardware or software that may lack immediate ROI.

Addressing these challenges strategically is difficult. The most taxing is the maintenance of service line support while the migration is underway. Let us look at some of the common concerns expressed by CIOs during migration.

Most common concerns expressed by CIO during such an activity:

  • What could be the go-to market time?
  • Will the workflow change?
  • How will the UI changes affect the existing users?
  • How much of the architecture could be re-used?
  • Will users need additional training before using the system?
  • How scalable is the new technology for future changes?

However, there is always a path and a positive side to the story. There is no need to panic about the excitement in migrating from legacy to a modern system. Migration is actually a logical process and is much simpler than widely thought of.

Let us divide the whole migration process into 4 logical parts:

  1. Migration planning
  2. Analysis and project planning
  3. Architecture, solution designing and development
  4. Comprehensive Testing and deployment
  • Migration Planning

One of the most important steps in migrating from a legacy system to a modern system is Migration planning. This includes pre-planning, impact analysis & technology expertise. Furthermore, identification & planning of resources according to skill sets is required as per project needs. Security governance can be critical when it comes to application sanity. Security governance should specify the accountability framework and provide oversight to ensure that risk is mitigated.

Additionally, configuration management documents including mapping, interface specifics, and detailing should be part of migration planning. This allows developers to understand the application easily. If done properly, organizations can understand whether the workflow will change.

  • Analysis and Project Planning

Like migration planning, analysis and project planning plays a pivotal role in technology migration. One major factor of project planning is the stakeholder communication plan, which helps in overall project integrity. A thorough analysis of the project will ensure that a project cost and go-to-market timeline are defined.

Moreover, some important documents, which need to be factored during project planning, include: Backlog of epics/features and project documentation including conflict management, RTM (Requirement Traceability Matrix), hardware and software specifics with NFR, creating a data dictionary, and source-target mapping at minimum.

  • Architecting, Solution Designing and Development

After analysis and project planning comes the important step of architecting, solution designing and development. During this phase, the documents that need to be created are: mapping design specification, data quality matrix and interface design specification. These documents help in taking appropriate decisions about the feasibility of the technology. Furthermore, hardware requirements and technology specifics can be finalized after due deliberation and comparative analysis. The overall phase helps in determining architectural reuse, UI changes and the scalability of the selected technology for future changes.

Prioritization development follows the completion of this phase.

  • Comprehensive Testing and Deployment

After the completion of the development phase comes the final stage, QA and testing. In order to have a bug-free application, the organization should have thorough testing documentation and a QA strategy. Testing of migration with dummy records and a live environment should be carried out for each module. Simultaneously, developing an independent migration validation engine is optional as per business need. In addition, a user manual helps a user to understand the system.

Every CIO should plan the above phases required in migration and ensure that every point discussed above is planned properly.

An experienced organization, which has worked on technology migration in past, holds the edge over a newbie because migration is not as simple as it looks. It needs lot of thought when it comes to solution design, architecture finalization, technology selection, security governance and quality assurance. All this purely comes with experience.

If you have technology migration on your mind and need help to get started, please reach out to

About Ravi Agrawal

Senior Lead Business Analyst

  • Healthcare
  • FHIR
  • Blockchain
A self-confessed healthcare warrior, an expert in Medicare, Medicaid, ACO, and Integration projects, Ravi speaks HL7 as a language. A doctor, doubling up as a Healthcare consultant, he is always a ‘patient’ person (pun intended) with a business mind. He says that technology never ceases to amaze him, and he is a student forever.