1. Well-strategized cloud migration can not only accelerate post-merger integration but can also drive synergy between the two organizations.
  2. Healthcare data migrations should be planned and executed with the utmost caution, as they can critically impact care delivery outcomes. However, the consistency and completeness of the data must be maintained.
  3. Azure-native migrations can leverage several services and patterns to speed the migration and mitigate key risk factors.
  4. CitiusTech's six-step Azure migration strategy and best practices can help healthcare organizations achieve repeatable success in M&A migrations every single time.

Data migration in M&A events: a 2023 perspective

Over the last few years, healthcare organizations have rapidly redesigned their core operating models with digital technologies.

Cloud transformation has been a top priority for healthcare organizations, and not without reason – it enabled them to digitize core processes, activate new use cases like telehealth, and operationalize big data applications.

It is no surprise that when a merger or acquisition happens, data migration is one of the key PMI milestones that mark the IT consolidation of the two organizations.

During their cloud transformation, several healthcare organizations have chosen Azure as their destination, owing to its vast portfolio of solutions to healthcare verticals and compelling compliance certifications. As a result, data migrations triggered by M&A events usually involve Azure technologies. In this article, we glance at some of the key data migration scenarios that arise during healthcare M&As, and how to navigate them with a well-defined data migration strategy.

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"Cloud transformation has been a top priority for healthcare organizations, and not without reason – it enabled them to digitize core processes, activate new use cases like telehealth, and operationalize big data applications."

M&A migration scenarios at a glance

Organizations involved in mergers or acquisitions can have significantly different technology footprints and architectures. Therefore, data migrations triggered by these events can create challenging migration scenarios. Here are a few of them:

  • Both organizations use a SaaS product, and data has to be migrated from one tenant to another. This is usually the most straightforward migration scenario.
  • Source and target systems use a PaaS product instance, but the underlying technologies differ. For example, a migration involving Azure SQL DB and Azure SQL Managed Instance.
  • Migration of data from one repository to another – for example, moving datasets from an Azure Synapse warehouse to another.
  • Migration involving disparate source and target technologies. This is one of the most challenging scenarios and requires a value-driven decisioning approach to reconcile different technology stacks.

Organizations should thoroughly evaluate the reconciliation approach from a business, technology, and compliance perspective in the latter scenario. In addition, alignment to the overall business strategy, architecture maturity, minimization of technical debt, and low TCO should be sought when devising a solution.


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Healthcare M&A migrations in Azure: a six-step strategy

"Healthcare data migrations are fraught with complexity and risk factors. However, these can be mitigated with a well-planned migration strategy that systematically addresses each of these aspects."

Here are some of the key risks involved in healthcare data migration scenarios.

1.Inconsistent data in target systems results from missed data, schema errors, or quality issues. 
2. Non-compliance resulting from privacy violations, breach of data residency requirements, or missed security measures like encryption of data in transit, 
3.System downtime results in operational disruptions, affecting care delivery workflows.
4.Delays in migration cause delays in PMI consolidation activities and erode deal value. 

“While every data migration initiative should follow a targeted strategy, it is even more important in M&A events involving healthcare organizations. Building on numerous experiences in such engagements, CitiusTech has built a six-step migration framework to achieve successful outcomes.”

Prepare an inventory of all data assets, their source, format, schema, and types. Then, map these data assets to target systems and finalize the scope of migration.

Create a migration pathway and finalize the migration approach. Different data assets may require differing approaches. The migration schedule and order (data assets to be migrated) are also formulated.

Migrate the data as per the defined plan. Migration can be executed using scripts or no/low-code tools. Consider validating the migration approach in staging/test environments before migrating production data.

Integrate the pipeline that ingests the data from the source system into the target system. If new data was added to the source, update the target system with new records to ensure consistency.

Cutover involves switching the workload/application to the target system to which the data has been migrated. Successful migration is followed by signoff from business owners.

Retain the data in source systems as per requirements, then delete it before retiring the source systems.

Best Practices for Healthcare Data Migration in Azure

Here is a set of best practices to guide Azure migrations triggered by healthcare M&As with repeatable success:

  1. When sources and targets are within Azure, minimize the amount of data to be moved by exploiting common Azure service boundaries.
  2. Leveraging Azure-native services for moving data can speed the migration as these are low/no-code tools that minimize the need for custom script development. For example, ADF with SQL scripts, Azure Copy, Azure Change Directory, and Azure Resource Mover to name a few
  3. Parallel execution and synchronization should be addressed in the migration strategy. In addition, migrated data should be validated before cutover, and it's best to have a rollback plan in place if things go south.

Final Words

IT consolidation is a crucial aspect of post-merger integration. As healthcare organizations move to the cloud and operationalize big data solutions, data migrations have become vital to the PMI consolidation process.  

Considering the mission-critical nature of some types of healthcare data, especially EMRs/EHRs, ensuring an errorless migration is crucial to curtailing high-risk consequences. Moreover, staying compliant with data privacy, security, and residence requirements is paramount to mitigating regulatory risk. 

By following a well-planned migration strategy, healthcare organizations can successfully mitigate these risk factors and drive M&A success with their data migration initiatives. Because disparity in source and target technologies can pose tricky questions, following a value-first decisioning framework is key. 

Over numerous data migration engagements, CitiusTech has evolved proprietary accelerators and frameworks to mitigate risk and speed data migrations for healthcare organizations.