Every industry has its own jargon, but tech has more than jargon; it also has buzzwords. A recent buzzword-phrase in healthcare IT has been information governance. However, a recent survey and subsequent whitepaper by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) shows that information governance is moving from buzzword to serious business imperative in healthcare organizations with benefits reaching to business intelligence and compliance.
A Survey People Wanted To Take
More than 1,500 healthcare professionals responded to AHIMA’s survey, making it the largest survey response — by about 16% — AHIMA has ever gotten. Simply the fact so many people responded to the survey is evidence that more people have some understanding of information governance, according to Kathy Downing, director of practice excellence at AHIMA, and co-author of the white paper titled “The Pulse on Information Governance in Healthcare.”
Our thought is that more people have an understanding of information governance and so are more willing to click the button and take the survey,” Downing said in an interview with Datica.
The survey took place between July and August of 2017. It was web-based and targeted to management and staff in both provider and non-provider organizations. AHIMA lists eight important points that can be gleaned from the survey results, and the first is that people are beginning to see information governance as a critical business initiative.
Possible Parallels Between PM and IG
However, that recognition doesn’t necessarily mean that organizations are taking action. Nearly 85% of the respondents said they were familiar with information governance, but 44% said no formal structure for information governance had been established within their organization.
Many information governance programs are still in their infancy, and Downing noted that there will probably be some similarities between the adoption of information governance and the way project management came to be part of every healthcare organization.
Project management wasn’t implemented as a whole organizational unit in many — if any — healthcare organizations. Instead, people did projects using the principles of project management, and over time the structure became ubiquitous throughout the industry. It’s entirely possible that information governance will follow a similar adoption process.
Downing says that she is seeing organizations using current projects with the intent of making them part of their information governance program eventually. “As they have success with those projects, they’ll say, ‘Okay, that was an example of information governance,’” says Downing.
Compliance is high on the list of IG benefits
The respondents to the AHIMA survey answered questions regarding the functions or operations of information governance they expected to be most beneficial as well. Analytics, business intelligence, and informatics was the one most often identified as likely to be most beneficial, at 46%. Compliance was second with just over 21% choosing it as the most beneficial function of information governance.
Downing says that right now, people at different levels within organizations have varying levels of understanding about information governance — and the higher up, the more they realize the importance.
Speaking specifically of developers and programmers, Downing said she hopes they will begin to see that “information governance is about the creation, the maintenance, the use, and the storage of information over its entire life cycle.” She goes on to say that information governance is something that programmers and developers understand, but says the future of how information is handled is a concern.
We have concerns about the long-term information retention strategies.”
Downing challenges IT developers to consider the full life-cycle of compliance, including what the patient information contained in their products will look like in 20 or 21 years when it is the time to destroy it.