Compliance challenges are ever-present and ever-evolving, and health information management (HIM) professionals are in the thick of it. Participants attending the Monday afternoon information governance (IG) roundtable “Unlocking Healthcare Compliance with Information Governance” participated in a collaborative discussion around IG and its relevance to ensuring compliance.
Presenter Shirley Lewis, DPA, MHA, RHIA, CCS, CHC, CPHQ, with Nuance Communications, kicked things off with a polling question gauging participants’ IG status at their organizations. The majority of participants said they were unsure of the status of IG at their organization, and were encouraged to go back after convention and find out. Lewis then provided a baseline overview of IG principles, the Information Governance Adoption Model (IGAM™) competencies, healthcare compliance challenges, and how a formal IG program can ensure compliance and reduce risk. This portion of the roundtable was intended to provide participants with a baseline understanding of IG for healthcare.
Participants also worked through an exercise that showcased typical compliance scenarios, including coding errors, backend changes to claims data, cybersecurity threats, breaches, incorrect patient identity, sharing of staff salaries, and workforce sharing private information. Participants were asked to review 11 compliance scenarios and to determine which of the 10 IGAM competencies applied. At the end of the exercise, participants responded as co-presenter Ann Meehan, RHIA, AHIMA director of information governance, IGAdvisors®, reviewed each scenario. It was determined that the following competencies addressed each of the compliance scenarios because they are fundamental to strong compliance and IG programs: Strategic Alignment, IG Structure, IG Performance, and Awareness and Adherence.
For healthcare organizations, including acute care hospitals, physician practices, long-term and post-acute care, payers, and vendors, compliance with the numerous federal and state regulations, accrediting requirements, and internal policies is a huge strategic objective (Strategic Alignment). Having a formalized IG program in place with senior leadership support, committee structure, and policies will drive the right decisions about information and better ensure compliance (IG Structure). Compliance is measured consistently through established key performance indicators and other metrics. These are typically reported to the Compliance Committee, senior leaders, and the governing body (IG Performance). Lastly, without workforce role-specific training on policies, procedures, and expectations about information, a healthcare organization cannot truly expect to have trustworthy, reliable information.
Other IGAM competencies addressing the compliance scenarios included Enterprise Information Management, Data Governance, and Privacy and Security. The participants determined that the majority of IG competencies impact all areas of compliance.
In summary, participants gained a good understanding of IG concepts and competencies and were able to apply that knowledge to compliance challenges that their healthcare organizations face each day.