How to Initiate Information Governance: 5 Steps

The American Health Information Management Association has adopted Gartner's definition of information governance as the specification of decision rights and an accountability framework to ensure appropriate behavior in the valuation, creation, storage, use, archiving and deletion of information.

"It's about the effective and efficient use of information," said Lesley Kadlec, MA, RHIA, director of HIM practice excellence at AHIMA.

In a Nov. 14 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review, Ms. Kadlec along with Lydia Washington, MS, RHIA, CPHIMS, senior director of HIM practice excellence at AHIMA, discussed the steps necessary to implement an information governance structure.AHIMA

Information governance "ensures accurate information gets to the right person for the right reason at the right time to make the right decision," said Ms. Kadlec. Information has become an important business asset to hospitals and health systems. Well-managed, actionable information will help these organizations meet the demands of healthcare reform, including ICD-10 and meaningful use, as well as improve care quality, improve revenue cycle management, improve patient relations, increase operational efficiency, ensure regulatory compliance and implement a population health management strategy. With information governance, "we can better handle anticipated and unanticipated problems," she said.

However, hospitals and health systems often face challenges to implementing information governance including limited resources, lack of designated executive responsibility, pushback from existing organizational culture and workflow and challenges turning the data into action. Hospitals and health systems can overcome these barriers by taking the following steps:

1. Devote the time. "Setting up an information governance structure is a 12 to 18 month project," said Ms. Washington. Hospitals should anticipate developing and implementing a comprehensive program that produces actionable data with minor workflow disruptions to take over a year.

2. Find an existing problem or business opportunity. "Remember, information governance is a means to accomplish a goal," said Ms. Washington, therefore one of the first steps is to identify a problem that could be eased or solved with available, actionable data.

3. Ensure leadership buy-in.
"Information governance requires leadership, not sponsorship," said Ms. Kadlec. All hospital leadership, not just the IT leaders, need to be involved in the project and be accountable for the results to successfully implement the new governance structure.

4. Start small. Ms. Washington recommended using an incremental approach to the information governance rollout, focusing first on one area and evaluating successes and failures before taking the new structure systemwide. "Don't try to do it all at once," she said.

5. Maintain momentum. After the information governance structure is initiated, it is important to both train staff as data stewards and ensure the governance structure is maintained after the initial implementation. "We saw in some of the case studies the organizations were sharing successes with the staff through report cards or other communication tools," says Ms. Kadlec. "Seeing and celebrating the successes helped them keep the momentum going."

View or download the Webinar by clicking here (wmv). We suggest you download the video to your computer before viewing to ensure better quality. If you have problems viewing the video, which is in Windows Media Video format, you can use a program like VLC media player, free for download by clicking here.

Download a copy of the presentation by clicking here (pdf).

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