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Two-Thirds of Health Care Organizations Lack Information Governance Strategy

Two-thirds of the responding health care professionals say their organizations do not have a comprehensive information governance (IG) strategy, but having one in place is a critical component in advancing patient care, improving population health and reducing costs, according to AHIMA, who cosponsored a survey on IG with Cohasset Associates.

In a first-of-its-kind, benchmarking survey of comprehensive IG practices in health care, AHIMA found that 95% of the more than 1,000 respondents said improving the quality and safety of patient care is a key driver for implementing IG.

A new white paper based on the survey provides an understanding of the state of IG in health care and a roadmap for establishing steps organizations should take to govern their information. Complete results and analysis can be found in the Cohasset Associates/AHIMA 2014 Benchmarking White Paper on Information Governance In Healthcare: A Call to Adopt Information Governance Practices.

“Information governance is a strategic imperative for all organizations within the health care ecosystem,” says AHIMA Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Deborah Green, RHIA, MBA. “Improved quality and patient safety, cost control, care delivery redesign, and responding to regulatory changes are top goals for health care organizations, and all are dependent on trustworthy information.”

The results indicate that there are pockets of strong IG efforts in areas such as privacy and security, but not organizationwide.

Additional findings of the survey include the following:

To prepare for information governance, AHIMA recommends programs that are cross-functional with senior level support. An organization’s governance focus should not be on clinical information alone, but on non-clinical, business and operations information as well.

“I encourage my colleagues in the C-suite to make a comprehensive information governance strategy an organizational priority,” says AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, FACHE, CAE, FAHIMA. “It’s easy to think it can be put on hold or maintained in one department while executives deal with other challenges, but this is a mistake. Developing a strategy should be a collaborative effort and is essential to realizing the benefits of governance.”

To achieve the full benefits of IG, AHIMA recommends the following be addressed:

• an accountability framework and decision rights to ensure the effective use of information, enterprisewide;

• defined processes, skills, and tools to manage information throughout its entire lifecycle; and

• standards, rules, and guidelines for functioning in an increasingly electronic environment.

In addition to publishing a white paper on the survey results, AHIMA  is convening health care stakeholders to develop a framework for IG in health care, has established an expert advisory group to review and provide input into IG development efforts, and is developing resources and guidelines to aid in operationalizing IG in health care.

The survey of AHIMA and non-AHIMA members targeted clinical and nonclinical executives, officers, directors, and managers in provider and nonprovider organizations in the health care industry. The survey received more than 1,000 responses between March and April 2014 and was conducted with Cohasset Associates and underwriten in part by Iron Mountain.

Source: AHIMA