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AHIMA Survey Shows Information Governance Becoming More Prominent

As health care professionals work to advance information governance (IG), there is growing support among leaders to make IG a priority, according to an AHIMA survey on IG conducted with Cohasset Associates, Inc.

In this second AHIMA survey to examine IG practices and readiness in health care, more than 40% of the over 1,260 respondents reported advancements in IG at their organizations in the last year. In the first survey on IG by AHIMA and Cohasset Associates released in June 2014, two-thirds of the responding health care professionals said their organizations did not have a comprehensive IG strategy.

A new white paper, based on the survey, examines the readiness of health care professionals to address the technical and strategic demands they face in an evolving IG environment, as well as the career opportunities from the advancement of IG in organizations. Complete results and analysis can be found in the Cohasset Associates | AHIMA 2015 "Information Governance in Healthcare: Professional Readiness and Opportunity" white paper.

"We're pleased to see the results point to increased traction for IG in health care and an increase in the appointment of leadership roles to address IG in organizations," says AHIMA's EVP/Chief Innovation and Global Services Officer Deborah Green, RHIA, MBA. "These valuable insights on how roles essential to governance are being handled help to inform next steps in our continued work to advance IG in health care."

The results indicate that 76% of survey participants said their overall body of knowledge and skills will support their organization's transition to IG, illustrating that professionals involved in health care IG disciplines are positioned to lead IG efforts. The findings also underscore that moving IG forward requires the work of multiple disciplines including health information privacy, information integrity, data quality, and the management of health records.

Additional findings of the survey include the following:

• 36% of survey respondents indicate that their organizations have designated a senior executive to sponsor IG;

• 23% of respondents identify themselves as the chair or participant of their organization's IG oversight body;

• Respondents strongly agree that communication is among the most compelling of their skills, enabling them to foster IG advancement support with leadership and staff within their organization;

• 43% of respondents believe their IG role gives them the opportunity to be more visible and valuable to other departments in their organizations; and

• Through their work to advance IG, health care professionals experience job satisfaction; however, opportunities exist to bolster the satisfaction level.

"The survey shows progress in the industry's move toward IG, a strategic imperative for all health care organizations to achieve improved quality and patient safety, cost control, and the overall trustworthiness of information," says AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. "The advancement of IG incorporates many disciplines and we encourage all health care professionals to take advantage of the growing body of knowledge on IG to not only further their professional development but move IG forward within their organizations."

To continue prioritizing IG in health care and growing the right skills for implementation, AHIMA recommends health care professionals do the following:

• press for the formation of an IG oversight body such as an IG council, committee, or working group within their organizations;

• illustrate how IG supports a health care organization's strategic goals by linking the investments necessary for IG advancement to improved clinical and business performance;

• establish or participate in online IG communities to learn more and share IG knowledge;

• take advantage of the growing knowledge of IG;

• illustrate expertise in IG by becoming involved in an organization's IG oversight body as a demonstration of IG credibility; and

• communicate regularly IG-related achievements and needs that demonstrate benefits to the organization.

More than 1,260 survey responses were received during March and April 2015. The survey targeted health care and industry professionals, including clinical and nonclinical leaders, officers, directors, and managers, in both provider and nonprovider settings. The survey was conducted with Cohasset Associates and underwritten in part by Iron Mountain and Nuance.

Source: AHIMA