Posts By: Beth Osborne

Merging Pharmacies? Here’s What You Need to Know About Your Patient Data

merging pharmacies

Merging pharmacies isn’t a rare occurrence. It can happen for many reasons, and the trend of consolidation is likely to continue in the U.S. Merging of two locations can bring lots of challenges. One of those is what to do with your patient data. 

We help pharmacies tackle this very issue all the time, and we wanted to share some considerations and best practices.

Why Do Merges Occur?

Merging a pharmacy can be the outcome of several scenarios. These are the most common.


Selling a pharmacy is a normal part of the industry. Those acquisitions could be by a chain pharmacy or an independent pharmacy. The acquisition requires a merge when the buyer is closing the purchased location. The buyer is purchasing the patient data and will then become the servicing pharmacy. In this situation, a data conversion is necessary, and sometimes data archiving.


Often a pharmacy has multiple locations but often decides to close one that’s underperforming. The data from the closing site will require a merge with the location that’s closest. You’ll usually need a data conversion and possibly archiving.  

What to Know About Moving Patient Data During a Merge

As noted above, the two areas of pharmacy data management to consider are conversions and archiving.

Data Conversions

A data conversion allows you to migrate data from one software system to another. It’s a complex process that requires a healthcare data conversion specialist. There are multiple steps to ensure accuracy, compliance, and completeness. 

Before you begin a conversion project, be sure to check out the pharmacy migration best practices.

Data Archiving

The second process to have on your radar is data archiving. In most cases, you don’t want to move all the data from the closing store to your platform. However, you still need to keep most of those records to adhere to medical record retention requirements. Thus, you can archive your patient data. 

Look for an archiving solution that is easy to use and web-based. If it lives in the cloud, you can access it anywhere and no longer have to keep expensive on-premises servers on-site. Here are a few of the must-have features for a pharmacy archiving system:

  • Searching and filtering.
  • Print-ready audit reports.
  • Learnable in a few minutes.
  • Able to hold all file types: data, documents, and images.
  • HIPAA and HITRUST compliant.
  • Encryption for data at rest and in transit.

Archiving is a cost-effective way to take the strain off your software and ensure you meet guidelines. While you’re in the middle of a merge, think about archiving data in your current system, too. 

Need Support for a Pharmacy Merge?

Merging pharmacies doesn’t have to be difficult. We’re here to support your needs. We offer the highest quality conversions and archiving for pharmacies. Additionally, we offer pharmacy transition solutions for buyers and sellers. Check out our pharmacy transition services today.


Pharmacy Data Migration: Best Practices

pharmacy data migration

Pharmacy data migration can be complex. While you’re probably familiar with the concept, you may not know where to start. That’s okay – we’ve got you covered! If your pharmacy is moving storage systems, follow our best practices for a thorough and seamless transfer.

What Is a Pharmacy Data Migration?

Simply put, pharmacy data migration is the process of transferring data between two or more storage types. Data is at the core of your pharmacy operations, so it’s essential to protect its accuracy. A precise and valid data conversion will allow you to remain focused on patient care.

Pharmacy Data Migration Best Practices

With any data migration, it is critical to design a plan well in advance of the move. A solid framework will safeguard against incorrect and lost data. It will also protect patient privacy, assure HIPAA compliance, and minimize user downtime. 

When creating a pharmacy data migration plan:

  • Consider the scope and source of the data to migrate. What data will you move, and where does it currently live?
  • Determine specific mapping and requirements. How do current needs compare to the new system?
  • Understand how the migration will be measured and verified. How will we know the move was successful?
  • Design a backup plan. How will we protect the data if the move is unsuccessful?

While every data transfer is unique, there are best practices we can apply to all situations. As leaders in the field of pharmacy data migration, we’ve compiled a list of seven steps to a precise and complete move.

Step One: Identify Source Data

Determine where you’re storing data (on-premises, the cloud, etc.). This allows you to create a migration plan tailored to your specific system requirements.

Step Two: Review Source Data

Pinpoint unlinked, obsolete, and duplicate entries. Remember that field matching isn’t exact from software to software. General fields may transfer, but smaller ones may not. Confirm mapping with your data migration partner.

Step Three: Perform Data Cleanse

Remove outdated, incomplete, and incorrect entries. This will provide a clean slate for your new storage system.

Step Four: Schedule Data Migration

Plan the transfer with all stakeholders to minimize system downtime. This will also protect against disruptions in patient care.

Step Five: Back Up Source Data 

Your current system will likely be in-use right up until the time of migration. Make sure to back up the data as close to this time as possible.

Step Six: Move the Data

Transfers are rarely straightforward. Work closely with your migration partners to move (not copy) the data. Choose a specialist who can handle the ins and outs of this complex task.

Step Seven: Verify and Validate Migrated Data

Create a solid quality assurance procedure that includes collaboration between yourself, software providers, and your data conversion company. Provide feedback until the migration plan is complete.

Want to Learn More About Pharmacy Data Migration?

Take a deep dive into the process by downloading The Ultimate Guide to Pharmacy Conversions, complete with our insider tips and expert advice! We’re sharing with you our learnings from more than 20 years in the pharmacy data migration industry to ensure your transfer is streamlined and accurate.

Medical Data Management Challenges and Solutions

medical data management

Medical data management may only be three words, but it’s so complex! Most all healthcare organizations deal solely with digital data. The volume keeps growing, regulations are constantly changing, and exchanging it continues to be cumbersome. 

If you’re struggling with managing your medical data, we’re going to break down the top challenges and provide some practical solutions.

What Is Medical Data Management?

Generally speaking, it describes the organization of healthcare data and how you use it. It can include everything from what’s in EHRs to pharmacy systems to other health information systems (HIS). While the principle is simple, the execution is not. Let’s talk about those challenges.

Challenges with Medical Data Management 

Fragmented Data

Within your organization, you may have multiple EHRs and HIS. That means data lives in different silos. Further, there are many formats, some of which are specialized. Often, this means you don’t have a single source of truth. Systems can’t talk to each other, so having a holistic view of patient information is difficult. 

Solving Fragmented Data

  • Striving toward interoperability: The road to healthcare interoperability has many potholes because standardization is still lacking. Without integrated systems, fragmentation remains. Organizations should develop a strategic roadmap to at least have internal interoperability.
  • Purging duplicates and old data: Your systems may have lots of duplicate information, or it may be inaccurate and stale. Now, you can’t just delete everything due to medical record retention laws. However, you can clean your data by removing duplicates and removing anything that’s no longer necessary to keep legally.

The Volume Is Staggering and Causing Performance Issues

The more data in your software, the more strain on them. Each day, clinicians and others add more and more. That can overwhelm systems and could increase your costs for hosting it. The question becomes, do you need it all in your active system?

Solving Volume Issues

The best way to decrease the volume is to archive what’s inactive but cannot be purged. If the requirements say that you have to keep those records, yet you know the person is no longer a patient, then move it to a secure, cloud-based archive. You can access it if you need it, but it’s not impacting your platforms. Data archiving is a cost-effective and efficient way to reduce volume. 

Deriving Insights from Data

Patient data is valuable for many reasons. First, it helps improve care for that specific individual. Second, you can anonymize the data and use it in predictive models for various end uses. Those could include:

  • Public health initiatives (i.e., databases regarding COVID-19 infections, treatment, and long-term symptoms).
  • Determining organizational performance (i.e., how long does it take to see patients or other questions).
  • Predictive modeling regarding supplies (i.e., finding out the most in-demand prescriptions are so you can stock better). 

Solving the Analytics Problem

To unravel this challenge requires several components. You’ll need a secure way to aggregate data and share it within platforms. Then you’ll need an analytics engine to do the assessment. There are lots of tools that can do this that use AI and machine learning. That’s where the future of any data management is heading. Custom data solutions will likely be necessary. 

Regulations and Compliance

Medical data is special, and there are lots of laws that tell you how to collect and use it. The central law is HIPAA, but others impact healthcare data. 

Every healthcare entity must balance compliance with usability. Most have workflows and protocols that mark off every part of a HIPAA compliance checklist. That doesn’t mean you don’t have challenges, especially when new regulations come into play like the Interoperability Rule.

Solving Regulatory Concerns

The best approach to remain compliant is to have internal safeguards, audits, and training. However, you also have to make sure the vendors you work with follow the rules. Do your due diligence before you engage with a partner that will have access to patient data. 

What Are Your Medical Data Management Challenges?

No matter the healthcare organization, you likely have challenges with managing medical data. Whatever those might be, our healthcare data experts are here to help. Get in touch today to see how we can be problem-solvers for you.