Healthcare executives and IT professionals have a responsibility to ensure stewardship of trusted information that promotes optimal patient care and organizational performance. Achieving trust in information requires information governance (IG), which requires strong collaborative leadership. The good news is that healthcare CIOs and IT professionals are paying attention to the value of IG for their organizations.
HIMSS Heightens Interest in IG
At the 2015 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition[J1] , April 12-16 in Chicago, our session on Seven Opportunities for Stronger Information Governance [J2] attracted 800 attendees—at an IT conference, no less. In collaboration with Maria Muscarella, assistant vice president, HIM, EMR & privacy officer, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, we focused on five objectives:
- Analyze recent industry reports, research findings and provider experiences related to IG practices, including AHIMA's IG principles. [J3]
- Identify steps to begin an IG program within healthcare organizations.
- Describe ways to bolster information integrity including stronger data dictionaries, data mapping, problem identification and information use across the enterprise.
- Show the effects of poor quality data on provider trust, patient care, reimbursement, quality, safety and e-discovery compliance.
- Recognize steps taken by Newark Beth Israel Medical Center to include IG initiatives in EHR implementation.
While some organizations have taken steps to build an IG program, most are still in the beginning stage. Only a few attendees said their programs were well along in the process. Challenges include leadership buy-in/support, proving the need for IG, education, planning and monitoring.
Whether an organization is just getting started or refining its program, here are four strategies for advancing IG:
- Assess existing policies, procedures and systems for capturing, processing, delivering and storing data. Set priorities that support the facility’s top goals.
- Engage a senior sponsor by showing the business value of IG—quality of care, cost reduction, compliance, improved patient outcomes, risk mitigation, accurate reimbursement.
- Create an interdisciplinary team including HIM, IT, compliance, C-suite, revenue cycle, legal and risk management.
- Develop a plan for implementing the AHIMA principles. Identify an enthusiastic, well-respected champion to help guide the effort.
HIM must be involved from the beginning. Their knowledge, skills and experience will help achieve the benefits of IG.
IT Publications Promote IG
As the electronic revolution in healthcare gains ground, IT publications are now featuring articles on IG. Soon after AHIMA released its IG framework, CIO magazine [J4] published a piece on the eight principles, IG as a strategic asset, and the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration.
In March 2015, Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review[J5] featured HealthPort’s article, “Strengthening information governance—the evolving role of IT.” And the most recent issue of ADVANCE Executive Insight [J6] followed with the first in a my series of articles providing key steps to achieve each of the IG principles.
With IT media focused on IG in healthcare, CIOs and IT professionals are beginning to understand its value and their role as collaborative leaders. IG makes good business sense. It’s a work in progress—an investment well worth the effort.