Two presentations on the first morning of AHIMA’s Information Governance Thought Leadership Summit addressed—among other pressing topics—two of the most frequently asked questions about IG:
- What is the difference between IG and data governance?
- How do you get IG started?
Stephanie Crabb, principal at Immersive LLC, and co-presenter with AHIMA’s Deborah Green, MBA, RHIA, said that one of the most important parts of launching an IG program is being able to envision what the end result—or destination—looks like. In other words, having an extremely detailed idea about what processes will change and what those changes will achieve.
Have a sense of that destination because that’s what you have to reinforce with all the stakeholders. The more passionate you can be about that destination, the more likely you are to set yourself up to be successful. There’s a lot of lip service to vision statements and mission statements, but when you translate that into charters, it absolutely matters. Find that alignment because it will be part of what you’re measured against.”
In their presentation, “Where Data Governance and Information Governance Meet,” Green articulated the difference between data and information. Things like a blood pressure reading or a patient’s name are data, Green said. When you link those two together you have information, a record, that you can act on and use. Most importantly, the ways in which you govern data and govern a record are different.
“Data governance follows much more closely on how data is captured,” Green said. “Information governance is more strategic, [it’s] governing an asset that has strategic value to the organization.”
Information governance includes the rules for how we treat and handle information throughout its lifecycle, Green added.
“They’re inter-related, we can’t pull them apart. Information governance helps to give the rules, resources, the value of data governance more credit,” she said.
IG Is Still Too Conceptual for Some
In her presentation, “Navigating the Transition to IG and Enterprise Information Management,” Linda L. Kloss, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA, admitted that one of the challenges facing IG is that for many people, it’s a hard concept to understand, and different parties have different ideas about whose domain it is.
“This notion of governance is murky. We need to develop our own shared understanding.”
When Kloss has tried to explain IG to CEOs in her consulting work, she often hears from them that they think “governance” is their responsibility, not HIM or anyone else’s. However, there are replicable models, such as AHIMA’s adoption model, that HIM can show senior leaders to illustrate what putting a plan or charter in place looks like.
“If senior leaders get it, the road to moving forward and putting a governance in place is putting forth a charter—or best practices across the organization. You must start with some sort of charter,” Kloss says.
She recommends modeling an IG program on an organization’s similar existing projects, such as an EHR taskforce or a privacy and security initiative already in place. But Kloss rejects the idea of waiting on upper management for the go-ahead to get started.
“There’s no reason to wait till senior leaders get it. It’s important to align these initiatives with strategic objectives.”