Records Management Executives Share Strategies for Success at Conference

Health information management professionals can rest a little easier knowing that they aren’t alone in their struggle to implement information governance initiatives. That message was abundantly clear Monday at the National Conference on Managing Electronic Records in Chicago, sponsored by Cohasset Associates.

The session “The New Breed of eRIM Professionals: Insights into Practical Strategies, Priorities, and Tactics that Move Electronic Records and Information Management Forward,” comprised electronic record executives from Accenture, Cohasset, and The Walt Disney Company.

One of the biggest challenges to implementing information governance programs in any organization that’s data-driven, is engaging the internal information technology (IT) department as a partner.

Ross Brown, director, records information management (RIM) at Accenture, said that in order to get IT’s ear, records managers must understand how IT operates and understand what processes they follow as a “natural act” of their jobs. In many companies, IT exists to serve the business’s goals. If information governance can be shown to serve the business—without a lot of additional work—it will be easier to get IT on board, panelists said.

“What I found is that IT is the most important stakeholder for records management. They control a lot of resources,” said Brown, who added that a cross-functional approach is the most successful. “I make sure I consult with IT regularly, starting what we call an information panel, myself, some folks from legal, infrastructure, get together on a quarterly basis to update where we are. [It] helps get past stonewalls.”

 

Information Governance Reporting Structure

When developing information governance programs in healthcare organizations, HIM professionals are often left trying to figure out where they fit. Should it be overseen by legal, compliance, or the business office?

Tom Stauffer, vice president, records and information management, with The Walt Disney Company, says there’s no perfect answer. “I report through the legal arm, that’s best place for us right now. I don’t have any records management responsibilities, so that lets me focus on governance. That’s effective for us, with Disney as an enterprise role,” he said.

Accenture’s Brown said he’s seen information governance projects crumble, even when all the right stakeholders were involved because there was no umbrella department ensuring it would succeed. “We do stumble over each other,” he noted.

 

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