One of the realities of healthcare IT is the mass of legacy healthcare IT systems that an organization has to support. I remember one hospital CIO saying that they had over 100 different health IT systems in their organization that they were supporting. Now expand that over the years and you can imagine how many of those systems get replaced and the old legacy system has to be supported.
I’m sure many are asking why they don’t just sunset the system. In many cases there are regulations and laws around how long you have to retain the healthcare data that’s stored in these systems. Other times there isn’t a good way to get the data out of the legacy system and the organization still needs access to the data. Regardless of the reason, every hospital has a number of legacy systems.
A little while ago I was talking with a consulting company and they pointed out something really interesting. Many times hospitals find themselves in a situation where they have a legacy system they have to support, but all their expertise in that legacy system has moved on from the organization. It turns out that this presents a great opportunity for these consulting companies to leverage the legacy software experience of their consultants. Many of these consulting companies do amazingly well just consulting on legacy systems. It’s amazing.
In my G+ hangout today, we also touched on this topic. The question of how to host the legacy system is often an important consideration. In the video interview, Jason Mendenhall pointed out that for legacy system’s, you often don’t want to move it to some new high end cloud infrastructure. In fact, it’s very likely that it’s not even possible. However, it’s nice to have all your health IT hosted in a place that can support the full gamut of needs from legacy servers to high end cloud computing.
I’d love to hear more about people’s strategy when it comes to legacy applications. Also, can we learn from our current experience that will help avoid future legacy application misery?