Legacy systems are outdated hardware or software that have been subsequently replaced but are still necessary for operational continuity. A legacy system is often older technology still used in an organization. Often times it is no longer updated but has to be maintained and supported for clinical and financial reasons.
Legacy systems can be a detriment because they’re often not interoperable with modern technology. Still, legacy systems persist for varying reasons — they may perform one function particularly well, employees may resist change, or budgetary constraints prevent the older systems from being replaced. Often times legacy systems contain data that was never moved into the currently in-use system and need to be referenced occasionally. They may also need to be maintained for legal or regulatory purposes due to medical record retention rules.
In healthcare IT, legacy systems can present operational problems because they don’t integrate well with modern apps like electronic medical record (EMR) systems. Also, significant labor or financial resources may be expended to keep older tech running, causing a drag on operational efficiency.
The Problems With Legacy Systems: Hardware
Legacy hardware is limited by how well it can use modern tech standards. Also, many times legacy hardware systems are no longer supported by their vendor and have gone "end of life". By continuing to use legacy hardware, healthcare systems put their entire infrastructure at significant risk. These risks can include security vulnerabilities, loss of critical data, or increased downtimes. Healthcare organizations must be thoughtful when reviewing their hardware to ensure they are not out of vendor support life cycles where systems are no longer maintained by their vendor. These systems must be regularly replaced and should be included in long-term planning and budgeting.
The Problems With Legacy Systems: Software
Legacy software is an application that has been subsequently replaced by an organization. The legacy software may no longer be supported by its software vendor. It oftentimes still needs to be maintained by the organization for business continuity purposes. Technology like virtualization or enterprise systems like Citrix can make using aging software on modern devices easier.
However, legacy software can still pose serious problems in a modern environment. Applications that have not had updates in years can be (and likely are) a security risk. This can prevent healthcare organizations from complying with regulations and laws like the HITECH Act and HIPAA. Healthcare organizations should continue to do required updates on legacy software even if no longer in regular use by their organization due to the risks of data loss, PHI exposure, or security issues.
How TempDev Can Help With Legacy Systems
TempDev’s team of NextGen consultants, developers, and trainers can help you implement, switch, or even upgrade your current EHR system. From dashboards, templates, and reports to revenue cycle consulting, automation, and workflow redesign, TempDev offers the tools you need to make the most of your NextGen EHR system.
Contact us here or call us at 888.TEMP.DEV to get the help you need to integrate or replace your legacy systems.
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