Getting Ready for a Clinical Data Migration: 3 Keys

More and more clinical organizations are facing the need to migrate documents and data—as well as the challenges that come with it. In this blog, we discuss how clinical organizations should prepare.

Keeping patient and drug documents and data secure and compliant is a clinical organization’s top priority.

But the practice of managing large volumes of data (including storing, analyzing and protecting it) has pushed the limits of many legacy systems. As a result, organizations need to find and implement newer, better systems – ones that can help create more efficient regulatory, redundancy and privacy processes.

This change of systems triggers the need to migrate data and create opportunities to revamp and improve processes. Here’s how clinical organizations should prepare.

Preparing for Migration

The consequences of an incorrect clinical data migration can be crippling to an organization’s budget, resources and even reputation. Though the idea of overhauling technology and migrating documents and data can seem intimidating, choosing to stay with a system that does not align with your current business process needs will cause more challenges down the line.

Organizations need to take a thoughtful approach to the process to ensure a quick, secure and cost-effective implementation and migration.

#1. Identify System Constraints

Migrations are driven by system or platform selections. Once you have selected the system, though, there are important questions you need to ask about that system and your processes.

Look to understand the business needs and technology environment to expose constraints to your migration approach. Consider constraints which arise from people, process and technology.

  • What else is happening to the system, people, or business at the same time as the migration?
  • Who is using this data and how much down time is acceptable for the migration updates?
  • How does this new data or system impact existing integrations and reporting?
  • Does this new set of data change the “rules” for the size and format of fields?
  • If you need to configure changes to your target system because of the migration, how long will this take?

Answering these questions and identifying these factors in advance allows for better planning and expectation setting.

#2. Plan the Migration

A successful clinical data migration always starts with planning. This means taking the time to think critically about data needs, migration scope and realistic schedules.

Data migrations must be more than just an afterthought of a new system implementation. In fact, they should have their own meticulous plan, project management framework and adherence to an SDLC just like any other software project.

Data migrations only seem impossible when clinical organizations skip planning and jump right into technical approach. Without taking the time to establish expectations, you face longer project times, greater frustration and higher costs.

#3. Allocate Resources  

A data migration is not an everyday business activity. So, make sure you properly allocate resources so the migration can happen without sacrificing the important day-to-day work. Understand your organization’s bandwidth and plan accordingly.

Migration activities can be handled by experienced, well-trained personnel who understand your clinical challenges. This team, whether in house or outsourced, will need to include resources who understand your specific business processes and structure.

One More Thing: Get a Clinical Data Migration Partner

You might need to consider your IT department’s current bandwidth before you dive into a data migration project.

They likely have enough to worry about. And while they may be perfectly equipped to handle a migration, this type of project isn’t a regular, everyday need. Allow your team to focus on the important day-to-day work by bringing in specialists that can implement and oversee migration best practices, augment your existing resources, provide more bandwidth for getting the work done, help you approach the project with ease, and navigate the complex requirements of the clinical landscape.

A migration partner focused solely on the life sciences domain can become much more than just a migration partner. In fact, when you work with a partner on a strategic level, they can guide you through the initial steps, from selecting a system to continuous evaluation and improvement. While you focus on delivering clinical study results, your partner can help you dynamically respond to changes as they come up and make your technology investments work to your greatest advantage.


Clinical data migrations are complex. But the right timing and planning will make the process go much smoother. And with a strong migration partner on your team, you can reduce risk and speed up project completion.

Daelight Solutions helps pharma, biotech and device firms of all sizes migrate clinical data to state-of-the-art, cloud-based solutions. Tell us more about your data needs today.