Information Governance is a hot topic these days across all industries, but it’s particularly relevant in healthcare. Proper governance of corporate information to reduce risk, improve operations, or streamline IT is of paramount importance for all parts of the healthcare ecosystem: providers, payers, and life sciences organizations. But in spite of the importance of InfoGov for healthcare, very few organizations are actually making solid progress in the area. There are a number of information governance roadblocks facing the industry.
What are the information governance roadblocks in healthcare?
- Lack of executive support which comes from a lack of understanding on the part of upper management and a lack of business acumen among InfoGov resources. Upper management in Healthcare too often doesn’t even know what InfoGov is and does. And those who are engaged in InfoGov too often ineffectively convey the value of InfoGov to the Heatlhcare C-suite.
- No policy driven approach to InfoGov. You can’t govern information by asking users for permission. You first need to align the entire organization when it comes to InfoGov policy and then execute. Otherwise, users will never consent to doing what it takes to get InfoGov right, and your approach will be inconsistent and out of step with your policies.
- Poor IT. Most organizations—and HealthCare is no exception—have a broken relationship between IT and the business. That makes it difficult to support core, money-making functions, let alone InfoGov.
Three Steps to Help Overcome Information Governance Roadblocks in Healthcare
In spite of the InfoGov roadblocks in healthcare, there are some steps you can take right away to address the problem and implement effective Information Governance:
- Address Protected Health Information that lives on shared drives. Indeed, PHI is typically one of the highest risk areas for Healthcare organizations. That’s especially for payers and providers, though less so in the life sciences. Even if you tackle the lowest hanging fruit—say PHI that hasn’t been touched in three years—you can reduce your risk surface significantly.
- Tackle the data within structured data applications. Most organizations have between 1.5 and 5 structured database applications per employee. Healthcare is no exception. The majority of these applications contains core business data, including PHI, Personally Identifiable Information, and intellectual property that has never been purged of obsolete data. Too often this is true even when an organization has policies that dictate otherwise.
- Address policy and procedure gaps. If you don’t have policies and procedures in place that support repeatable, auditable, defensible disposition of data, you’ll struggle to make progress on governing your information. Moreover the problems you have regarding Information Governance will be tough to defend in front of regulators and the courts.
InfoGov for the healthcare sector is a complex subject with no easy answers. Hopefully these solutions have given you some ideas about what you need to do to improve your InfoGov capabilities, begin to reduce risk and increase the value of your information for the entire organization.
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