When It Comes to Launching IG, New Toolkit Says Start With the Obvious

When it comes to launching an information governance (IG) program, AHIMA’s new Information Governance Toolkit suggests starting by answering a simple question: “What is the biggest and most consistent problem with information that remains unresolved” at your facility?

The answer to that question should serve as the starting point of an information governance program and information governance committee, according to the free toolkit, which was released this week as a way to help healthcare organizations—and HIM professionals in particular—embrace information governance and launch formal IG programs in their facilities.

The “Information Governance Toolkit 1.0: Building Critical Competencies and Delivering Outcomes Through Excellence in Strategic Information Management” shares other guidance, best practices, and resources for starting and implementing IG within an organization with a goal of facilitating and supporting ongoing IG initiatives.

“In today’s information-driven and fast-changing healthcare landscape, there is a growing recognition that information must be fully analyzed and governed to make the best and most informed business decisions,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “This toolkit is an ideal resource for healthcare organizations looking to develop or expand their enterprise IG initiative.”

Since the first step of any initiative is usually the biggest and most difficult, the IG Toolkit suggests the first thing a healthcare information governance committee should do is work collaboratively to answer the above question, then work to solve the stated issue. That success can then be used as a model for the expansion and development of future IG initiatives. An IG committee, the toolkit suggests, should be made up of HIM, information technology, legal, C-suite, and other clinical department representatives—a true cross-section of a facility.

“As healthcare and associated technologies, laws, compliance and regulation continue to change, it is becoming clear that IG touches all departments,” Thomas Gordon said. “That’s why involving all key stakeholders from the start will ensure that the unique issues are being proactively addressed and discussed.”

Developing job or role descriptions is another key element to any IG initiative. The job roles to designate—depending on the size and needs of an organization—include: IG executive, IG program director, business analytics professional, data architect, data steward, data governance analyst, master data management analyst, business owner, chief health information officer, and chief data officer, according to the toolkit.

Other key items in the toolkit include:

  • Using the Information Governance Principles for Healthcare (IGPHC)™
  • Inventory of sample enterprise information management policies
  • Four IG case studies initiated by AHIMA (with an academic medical center system; interstate integrated delivery system; large regional integrated delivery system; and a four-hospital integrated delivery system)
  • Organizational Charts and Committee Structure
  • Organizational Communications Planning
  • IG Training Plan


Download the IG Toolkit here.

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