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The Pulse on Information Governance: AHIMA Survey Results

By Kristi Fahy, RHIA

In 2012, the health care industry faced growing volumes of data. In response, AHIMA recognized the need for information governance (IG) as a strategic initiative to help meet the industry’s ever-changing demands and challenges. Since then, our team has worked to help raise awareness and to increase IG adoption.

AHIMA has worked closely with partners to develop three IG white papers, including the recently released “The Pulse on Information Governance in Healthcare,” which addresses IG survey results from a 2017 partnership with Immersive Healthcare. The white paper takes a deep dive into the survey results, which captured responses from more than 1,500 respondents from all health care verticals. A key objective of this survey was to measure the level of IG adoption in responding organizations to reflect a sample of the health care industry. The survey aimed to determine the following:

Based on the survey results, AHIMA and the industry gained important learnings about the status of IG for health care.

Recognition of IG has increased, but there is still a need to continue to raise awareness. One of the top barriers to IG was the awareness and understanding of the topic itself, which in turn has led to budget and funding challenges. As a result of the survey, we learned that making the case for IG will help organization stakeholders understand the importance of strong IG practices. Conversely, the increased awareness also represents the increased readiness for professionals working in IG functions or areas of IG competence.

The drivers of IG align with industry drivers for health care transformation by utilizing trusted information. This indicates that responding health care professionals agree that IG is needed to ensure trusted information and address industry demands.

Data governance is being adopted at a similar rate to IG. This signifies that organizations are well positioned to move toward a formalized IG program.
The most frequently reported projects prioritized by organizations, if they had sufficient funding, involved data governance and data management. These areas are critical for data availability and data integrity—each of which was a reported area of anticipated IG program benefits.

The greatest anticipated IG program benefits were data analytics, informatics, and business and clinical intelligence. These three benefits also were topics that respondents were most knowledgeable of, further emphasizing the need to optimize IG for these areas.

Education is key. It is important that organization leaders understand and make the case for IG, explaining how it can address the many challenges currently facing the health care industry. By aligning IG with organizational goals and other industry-driven initiatives (eg, interoperability, safe use of HIT, payment reform, and cybersecurity), health care professionals will understand the higher purpose and benefits of their IG efforts.

The amount of data and information will continue to grow within health care organizations. It will appear in all formats and speeds and in large volumes. Health care organizations must increase awareness and begin or continue to implement IG efforts to keep ahead of the wealth of data and information. As we continue to create educational tools and monitor the industry, visit www.IGIQ.org for the latest IG updates.

— Kristi Fahy, RHIA, is an information governance analyst at AHIMA.