The growing strategic importance of data in healthcare organizations is a key factor pushing them to pay more attention to information governance, according to results of a recent survey by the American Health Information Management Association.

Information governance is still a relatively new concept, but its importance is increasing, particularly as healthcare organizations collect more data from information systems, understand its value as a strategic asset, and seek to use it to analyze care delivery, improve clinical efforts and cost-effectively deliver care. Under AHIMA’s definition of information governance, policies are needed for use throughout an organization to manage information, protect it, and then use it to support “strategy, operations, and regulatory, legal and environmental requirements.”

However, the Chicago-based association, which represents 101,000 health information professionals, notes that a majority of organizations are only at the beginning stages of information governance efforts. The survey, the second on the topic by AHIMA, found that 32 percent of survey respondents reported no progress on information governance, while another 24 percent indicated that it’s not yet an organizational priority.

Also SeeAHIMA Publishes Information Governance Framework

Still, AHIMA’s survey, based on results from 1,260 respondents, found rising awareness of information governance. Some 40 percent of respondents reported advancements in IG initiatives in the last year. By contrast, the first AHIMA study of this initiative in June 2014 found that two-thirds of respondents said their organizations did not have a comprehensive IG strategy.

“The survey shows progress in the industry’s move toward IG, a strategic imperative for all healthcare organizations to achieve improved quality and patient safety, cost control and the overall trustworthiness of information,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon.  “The advancement of IG incorporates many disciplines, and we encourage all healthcare 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.”

Among other findings from the new survey:

  • 36 percent of respondents said their organizations have designated a senior executive to sponsor information governance.
  • Respondents report they are filling roles in IG efforts at their facilities. Some 19 percent said they are contributing members to their organization’s IG oversight body, while 4 percent said they chair the oversight body.
  • 16 percent of respondents said efforts are under way in their organizations to establish an IG oversight body.
  • 43 percent of respondents believe their IG role gives them the opportunity to be more visible and valuable to other departments in their organizations.
  • However, 40 percent of respondents said their organizations don’t have any form of IG oversight group and have no plans to establish one.

 “The results point to increased traction for IG in healthcare and an increase in the appointment of leadership roles to address IG in organizations,” said Deborah Green, AHIMA’s executive vice president and chief innovation and global services officer. “Insights from the survey on how roles essential to governance are being handled help to inform (AHIMA on) next steps in our continued work to advance IG in healthcare.”
This article courtesy of Information Management's sister brand, HealthData Management.

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