Why Integration of Legacy Systems in Healthcare Is Necessary for Health Apps

Are you struggling with the complexities of outdated software and wondering if your company needs legacy system integration? Today, businesses have to follow emerging technological novelties in an attempt to keep their outdated systems current and consistent with the needs of contemporary operations. Even if they were reliable at the time, they might now act as barriers to efficiency and development.

Legacy Systems in Healthcare

Legacy systems in healthcare have emerged as a result of the extensional growth of  social media and rapidly developing digital technologies such as AI, robotic process automation, and machine learning. We will talk about integrating legacy systems and how it may open up new opportunities for your company, whether you're a business owner, an IT specialist, or simply interested in the possible advantages.

What Is Legacy System Integration in Healthcare?

Let's start by identifying what a legacy system is. A legacy system is one that no longer receives vendor updates and enhancements.

It can perform the basic and foundational functions but doesn’t evolve and stays at the same level of development as it was when it was first implemented. Approximately 70% of “Fortune’s” top 500 firms still utilize legacy systems to handle a lot of these interactions and processes.

The persistent usage of obsolete electronic health records (EHR) in many hospitals and medical offices is a practical illustration of a legacy system in the healthcare industry. It has an outdated user interface, lacks interoperability, and is vulnerable to cyberattacks. It lacks advanced features such as scalability, strong data analytics, clinical decision support, patient engagement tools, and AI capabilities in order to improve patient care, efficiency, and data-driven decision-making, making it costly to maintain. Additionally, healthcare providers may resist transitioning due to the learning curve associated with new systems.

Some of the reasons why the system can turn into a legacy are that the vendor stops working on the program, doesn't produce any updates, or doesn't fix any bugs. If you are not sure whether or not you have an outdated system, a healthcare software consultant can help you identify possible issues. Therefore, without a legacy system integration solution, over time the system can’t keep up with a fast-paced world of technological development and stops operating at its full potential.

Below, we will review some of the most common types of legacy systems, and maybe you will recognize some of them as being utilized at your facility.

Legacy System Integration Examples

Types of Legacy Systems

Legacy systems may be expensive to maintain or upgrade. Yet they continue to be used because of their historical significance or the difficulties of migrating. Below, we will review different types of existing legacy systems.

End of Life

Microsoft XP is a prime example of out-of-date software that poses a serious security and functionality risk. Such software often hits its peak and stops getting updates or upgrades. Older software becomes more susceptible to security breaches when developers turn their attention to newer, more advanced technologies.

Users risk breaches and data loss in the absence of updates or help to react to changing threats. The use of specialist legacy system integration tools is required as a result of the incapacity of legacy software, such as Microsoft XP, to handle new functionalities and its incompatibility with many devices.

Its utility is significantly constrained by concerns about interoperability with hardware and software. Users are thereby cut off from the advantages of modern technology and forced to contend with a system that not only lacks security precautions but also has trouble carrying out necessary functions and establishing connections with cutting-edge hardware and software applications.

Vast Technological Patching

Each piece of software has its own lifecycle, which can be extended through some botching and upgrading. However, if the program doesn’t receive a quality extension from its vendor, it starts relying heavily on multiple patches. Still, some companies choose to keep running the existing software instead of implementing new healthcare app development.  While it is possible to keep the system going with this tactic, it also puts your security in vulnerable positions, and when it starts to rely too heavily on constant repairs, the system becomes unreliable.

The Irrelevancy of the System

At certain points, some systems become obsolete, and over time, there are fewer and fewer people left who continue to use them. When the software is left there by itself due to its outdatacy there are only a limited number of specialists that are capable of maintaining its working processes. Therefore, it might be the right time to hire a legacy system integration specialist since it can be hard to find professionals who are capable of dealing with this system.

Limitations and Lack of Scalability

Sometimes, when your business grows and expands, it starts requiring more progressive systems and relevant technology. Even if your software is still being updated and getting all the bugs fixed, it will no longer work properly if it doesn’t meet the needs of your business. In this case, it requires a legacy system integration program since the old one is incapable of handling all the workload and demands of your facility.


In this context, the term "competitor" refers to the software used by competing enterprises in a certain market or sector. In order to acquire a competitive advantage, corporations frequently design and use systems that may consist of exclusive front-end developments, specially created programs, or outdated industry-specific tools that were previously state-of-the-art. The difficulty with older rival systems is that they are not flexible enough to keep up with changing market norms and client expectations.

These systems may have trouble integrating with contemporary platforms, restrict the agility of a company, and be expensive to maintain as technology develops. To stay competitive in a business environment that is continuously changing, organizations may need to carefully consider whether to replace or upgrade these outdated systems.

Patient Demand

In the sector of medical care, where long-term integrated programs frequently play a crucial role, patient demand is one more critical factor. Electronic health records, appointment scheduling programs, and data systems are examples of potential legacy. Now customers demand developments that have been put in place to accommodate providers' and patients' requirements.

Over time, they may become irrelevant and ineffective, which might cause problems including data silos, sluggish access to patient information, and subpar patient experiences. It may be expressed in delays in care, communication challenges, and limited access to essential services and information, ultimately impacting patient satisfaction and overall healthcare quality.

Thus, it is beneficial to implement a patient engagement solution to retain customers and increase satisfaction with the services. Companies must utilize legacy systems integrations and work through the difficulties of switching from outdated to contemporary programs, to satisfy the changing needs of healthcare consumers and regulatory obligations.

Legacy System Integration

Why Do Medical Facilities Avoid Integrating Legacy Systems?

Despite numerous complications in maintaining the outdated systems, some organizations refuse to shift to the newest developments and stick to the old ones. Even though there are various types of healthcare software that can boost your organization’s performance to the next level, it can be hard to move towards innovation. Here are some of the most widespread reasons why businesses refuse to make changes to their applications.

Resistance to Change

Healthcare businesses prioritize security, dependability, and adherence to accepted practices while frequently reluctance to adopt new methods or technology. This strategy is founded on the need for patient safety, adherence to stringent rules, and a preference for evidence-based methods.

Such hierarchical structures, conservative decision-making, opposition to change based on tradition, and risk aversion may all impede innovation. The cost of integrating new technologies or therapies also contributes to retaining the systems as they are.

Prioritizing patient safety is essential, but healthcare organizations still struggle to improve patient outcomes while balancing risks. This is because they can't seem to find a way to combine safety with innovation.

Lack of Technical Knowledge

Another problem might be the absence of a high-quality professional team of developers in the facility. Without the necessary technical support, the organization might not even recognize the need for an upgrade and just continue operating with the existing systems despite all the possible flaws and bugs. And even if the company decides to implement new changes or start legacy system API integration, the lack of people with good technical knowledge might slow and complicate the whole process.

No Demand for Regular Updates

Some features of the program can run without the need for constant improvement. Electronic health and medical records, for example, have the possibility of serving their purpose and don’t require frequent modernizations in order to work properly. Additionally, some possible challenges of implementing electronic health records might keep the organization from updating the system. Even though the whole program might be irrelevant, if certain aspects keep operating without demanding constant patching or fixing, the facility might not recognize the need to change the software.

Why ERP Legacy System Integration Is Crucial

Medical facilities have their own reasons to update their systems or keep working with the old ones. However, the question of whether to start the integration of enterprise resource planning software (ERP) is crucial to consider.

First of all, it is an inevitable part of the workflow that manages all the processes and allows them to run smoothly. More than 34% of CIOs see the complexity of technology systems and environments as the main cause of project failure. They recognize that legacy core systems lack the agility needed to build and deploy creative and disruptive new technology solutions.

Without frequent updates, problems and mistakes will invariably develop, productivity will decline, there will be many hassles, and the performance's accuracy will be put to the test. In addition to that, outdated ERP makes your software exposed, and the data is no longer safe and protected since the exposure to leaks and cyberattacks increases significantly.

Data Integration Legacy Systems

Advantages and Disadvantages of Rebuilding Legacy Systems

There are multiple benefits to legacy system integration as well as certain drawbacks, since the process of replacing or modifying existing software or technological infrastructure can be rather complex. The following aspects should be carefully considered before making a decision.

Competitive Strengths

Let’s start with the advantages and review why it is beneficial for your facility to update the existing legacy system.

#1 Improved Performance

Outdated technology frequently causes legacy system in healthcare to run slower and less effectively. Rebuilding enables you to benefit from contemporary software, improving its performance.

#2 Scalability

Legacy systems could have a hard time adjusting to shifting business demands. Therefore, one of the best options is to utilize end-to-end healthcare software to cover the whole cycle of digital reinvention. Rebuilding offers the chance to create a more scalable architecture that can expand your company.

#3 Enhanced Security

Due to outmoded security procedures, older systems are sometimes more susceptible to security attacks. By rebuilding, you may incorporate the most recent security features and standards, which lowers the danger of data breaches and assaults.

#4 Better Integration

The data integration of legacy systems, new technology, and outside services can lead you towards progress. Some of the great solutions for you can be health insurance software systems that enhance the agility of your conventional insurance workflows. It is possible to rebuild a system with simpler integration and greater compatibility in mind.

#5 Long-Term Cost Savings

While rebuilding may initially be expensive, it may ultimately result in cost savings. A legacy system integration services could be more cost-effective in the long run than keeping the old software since it sometimes has greater maintenance and support expenses.

#6 Enhanced User Experience

Rebuilding gives you the chance to enhance the system's user interface and user experience as a whole, making it more effective and user-friendly.

#7 Compliance and Regulation

It's possible that legacy systems don't adhere to the most recent industry norms and laws. You may confirm that your system complies with all relevant compliance criteria by rebuilding.

Disadvantageous Features

Despite all the advantages, there are certain drawbacks that you should consider before installing the new technology in your facility.

#1 High Initial Costs

Starting again while constructing a legacy systems integration product can be costly in terms of both time and money. It could need a substantial initial investment in development tools, technology, and training.

#2 Operations Disruptions

Might occur during the rebuilding process, which could have an effect on customer service and productivity.

#3 Project Risk

Some challenges of legacy system integration imply the significant risk the project carries, including the possibility of delays, cost overruns, and technical difficulties.

#4 Complexity of Data Migration

Moving data from an old system to a new one can be difficult and time-consuming. Data loss or corruption might result from data migration problems.

#5 Employee and Stakeholder Resistance

Change is possible since both groups are accustomed to the outdated system. To solve this problem, training, and change management initiatives may be necessary.

#6 Unexpected Problems

Despite careful planning, the legacy integration system might still have problems that occur throughout the rebuilding process that may need more time and money to fix.

#7 Concerns about Compatibility

Some legacy systems may be dependent on antiquated technology that is hard to recreate in a modern system. This could cause compatibility problems.

Legacy System Integration Program

Examples of Legacy System Integration in Healthcare

Firms that want to increase productivity, improve patient care, and remain compliant with changing legislation must prioritize modernizing their old systems. Here are a few actual examples of modernizing outdated developments.

Remote Patient Monitoring Platform Reinvention

The CleverDev Software team was tasked with integrating our custom remote patient monitoring (RPM) software solution into a US-based healthcare company's legacy EMR system. The legacy EMR system lacked automation for back-office tasks, hindering efficiency and scalability.

CleverDev Software developers seamlessly integrated their RPM software, enhancing patient records management, health data tracking, time recording, provider notifications, online document signing, billing reports, patient compliance tracking, video calls, and SMS notifications.

This integration improved communication, streamlined operations, and ensured compliance while providing 24/7 support. In this legacy system integration case study, CleverDev Software also met HIPAA compliance standards, making it a comprehensive and efficient addition that aligns with the client's business development strategy and industry requirements.

Mayo Clinic's EHR Modernization

One of the top healthcare institutions in the world, the Mayo Clinic, has completed a $1.5 billion system update of its electronic health records, which affected 51,000 staff nationwide.

Beginning with its Wisconsin operations, Mayo Clinic gradually consolidated its existing Cerner and General Electric systems into Epic's EHR. The move broadens Epic's substantial market reach among major healthcare systems, even as the business targets smaller clinics and outlying facilities.

All medical staff may access patient information thanks to the finished system, which manages the flow of patient data. Additionally, it manages billing and combined patient statements.

Experts are now even more involved in providing high-value treatment, research, and teaching by utilizing the most cutting-edge technology and procedures in collaborative care systems and electronic health records.

Veterans Health Administration's VISTA Evolution

The Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VISTA) has been utilized by the American Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for many years.

When they realized they had a legacy system integration problem, they started the VistA Evolution initiative. To assure compatibility with other systems and enhance the standard of care for veterans, this endeavor entails switching to a more contemporary EHR system, Cerner's Millennium.

Cleveland Clinic's Digital Transformation

The Cleveland Clinic was already attempting to establish itself as a healthcare digital innovator in the years before the Covid-19 epidemic. They have virtualized medical practice over the past ten years, changing the model of treatment.

In the era of bundled payments, telemedicine-enabled virtual visits are improving providers' efficiency while giving many patients a less expensive and more practical care choice. This means making significant investments in patient and caregiver apps, eHospital solutions, and distant health enablement.

With the use of this quick digital transformation strategy, Cleveland Clinic was able to increase the population for which its telehealth services were available from 2% to 75% in less than two weeks.

They also created a novel risk management algorithm that used 120 factors from the electronic health record, claims data, test findings, and other sources to estimate the probability that a person will have a bad outcome in terms of their health in any given situation.

Legacy Integration System

How to Integrate Legacy Systems in Four Steps

Legacy system integration can be a difficult but important process. You'll need to connect a new solution with your old system in order to employ current, cloud-based platforms, build new user experiences, enhance internal processes, and exploit corporate data. All of these various services should be integrated with the legacy system or ERP software for optimal benefit.

A service layer, for example, transforms data from a legacy application before delivering it to a new one, ensuring that the new system accepts the data. Another possible way to integrate is through the data access layer (DAL), which replicates data in an old system, giving it a new data architecture for easier transfer and utilization in modern systems.

Additionally, an API is an excellent solution for future integration, as it makes aspects of the legacy system readable and available to new services, providing flexibility. Building a custom API is likely the best choice for integrating legacy systems with multiple services in the future.

Eventually, when it comes to the integration process, there are certain aspects that can make it steady. The following steps will help you integrate legacy systems into your infrastructure in a smooth manner.

Review Your Old Healthcare Software

Your previous development has to be properly reviewed as a first step. Start by performing a thorough evaluation of your present systems, taking into account their usability, data storage, and compliance with current industry standards.

Determine any flaws or locations where your company’s legacy systems fall short of satisfying changing demands. Your integration plan will be built on the critical assessment, which will provide you with important insights into what can be kept and what has to be improved.

Create an IT Modernization Plan

Making a modernization strategy comes next if you are aware of how your old systems are currently performing. Goals, costs, legacy system integration testing, and schedules for your organization's integration process should all be included in this strategy.

The technology and techniques that will be used to close the gap between old systems and contemporary infrastructure should also be covered in depth. For instance, using legacy app modernization services will allow you to improve, incorporate, and create new digital business models. You can make sure that your integration efforts match the goals and resources of your business by creating a clear innovation plan.

Start the Integration Process

It's time to start the integration process now that a thorough modernization strategy has been put in place. Choosing the proper legacy system integration for a company, whether it requires middleware, APIs, or bespoke programming, is the task of this stage.

Think carefully about how this period will affect your operations and patient care. Ensure data migration is conducted precisely and securely to avoid service interruptions. A successful integration process depends on effective communication and coordination between IT teams, healthcare employees, and stakeholders.

Post Integration Support

The last stage is to start the post-integration phase when the integration procedure is finished. The performance of the newly integrated systems must be closely monitored throughout this phase in order to spot any problems and make the required corrections.

The security and integrity of the new healthcare environment may be preserved with the aid of routine audits and testing. To guarantee that your healthcare personnel can utilize the new system efficiently and continue to offer patient care, it is also crucial to train and assist them.

To Sum It Up

Legacy system integration software is a must, not an option, in the rapidly evolving world of technology. Health applications have the power to completely transform patient care, but only if they can integrate with the antiquated systems that still serve as the backbone of most of the sector.

Businesses may benefit from greater data accessibility, simpler operations, more patient involvement, and stronger compliance and security measures by adopting integration. Integration has its difficulties, but overall, the advantages outweigh the drawbacks. The future of healthcare is in the peaceful cohabitation of legacy systems and modern applications, which will ultimately improve patient outcomes and make the healthcare system more effective.

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About the Author

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Anastasiya Kastsiukovich

Anastasiya Kastsiukovich

Tech & Innovation Expert

Anastasiya is committed to making the complex simple. Her passion for writing, proficient research, and strong interviewing skills allow her to share in-depth insights into the ever-evolving IT landscape.

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