“This may not change the company’s desire or opinion as to whether it wants to buy or merge with the other organization, but it will allow it to consider the true financial and time cost of doing so. “, explains Tuttle.

One way to approach IT integration is for both organizations to run their own systems until a defined changeover date. After performing migration tests, the data should be migrated securely at the same time.

“It’s always a good idea when merging data to analyze it along the way to make sure the data doesn’t open your organization up to vulnerabilities,” says Tuttle. “Make sure that the migration method you choose is secure at rest, in transit and back at rest. “

He recommends migrating data and systems overnight to minimize disruption to healthcare and business operations. The next day, the old system will no longer accept new data entries. Employees unfamiliar with the system will need to be onboarded once the merger or acquisition is complete.

Another model involves each organization using its existing system with a third system aggregating information from both. However, Tuttle says most organizations prefer to consolidate rather than paying twice for the same capabilities.

The keys to successful EHR data and IT systems integrations

Atwell says the keys to success include planning, over planning and patience.

“The resulting stakes are high and cost rationalization is usually the main driver of change, putting pressure for rapid integration. Good planning with solid project management is an absolute must, ”he says.

When integrating two healthcare systems, the goal is to limit any effect on patients. To achieve this, all technology stakeholders must be involved in IT integration planning.

“End user representatives should also be involved when developing an integration plan, so that they can identify and communicate potential disruptions to care delivery,” says Atwell. “They can also identify the training needed for their peers using the final integrated solution to maintain appropriate patient care.”

READ MORE: An easier path to IT success in mergers and acquisitions.

In healthcare mergers and acquisitions, IT teams need to quickly come together to examine how each team monitors and responds to incidents in their respective environments.

“Standardizing IT tools and incident response can be almost as complex as integrating healthcare systems, but it is imperative that visibility and operational excellence are maintained during the integration process,” says Atwell . “Failure to do so will make the whole onboarding process considerably more difficult and increase the risk of impacting patient care. “

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