The New ROI: Return on Information

What does healthcare’s evolution look like? According to Tuesday’s general session speakers, it will include thought leadership, bold initiatives like information governance (IG), and changes in models and mindsets.

Incoming AHIMA President Melissa Martin, RHIA, CCS, CHTS-IM, called on members to “prepare for our future by enhancing critical thinking and analytical skills to evolve our roles in healthcare. Our diverse skill sets position us well to tackle those hard questions like ‘What is the future of coding?’ and ‘How do we become the leader in information governance?’” she said.

Thought leadership was also an important theme for Martin. As an AHIMA board member, Martin served on AHIMA’s Information Governance Task Force, which “pushed me to be a thought leader and help prepare our table of the future and design the menu. …In reference to ‘the table,’ I envision HIM as the convener of groups, instead of the invited guest, and we are preparing the table that everyone wants to be at,” Martin said.

An Imperative for Healthcare

Thought leadership was at the forefront during AHIMA’s Deborah Green’s presentation on information governance (IG). “The volume and rate of growth of data do not bring the greatest challenges to information integrity across healthcare,” said Green, MBA, RHIA, AHIMA’s executive vice president and chief innovation and global services officer. “The much tougher challenges to information integrity, availability, and security require information governance.” IG has become an imperative for healthcare because “it will enable trust” and will allow organizations to “trust our own data for key decision making and (be) confident enough to leverage that information,” Green said.

It’s an ambitious goal, but the industry is making progress, Green said. A survey conducted this year by AHIMA and Cohasset Associates showed that 44 percent of respondents had established IG oversight bodies, 44 percent have seen modest to significant progress, and 38 percent reported that IG is included in their organization’s strategic objectives. “That is really encouraging,” Green said.

AHIMA’s work to advance IG in healthcare is making progress, too. Based on the Information Governance Principles for HealthcareTM, AHIMA has developed an IG Adoption Model to allow organizations to measure their levels of IG adoption maturity. As organizations move up the maturity curve, “they increase their ability to trust and leverage their data and information, minimize risk, and make critical decisions confidently… we like to call this, in IG terms, return on information,” Green said.

AHIMA is currently conducting pilot tests of IG in 11 healthcare organizations, with a total of 39 facilities participating across a variety of settings. The aim of the project is to validate the adoption model, develop case studies based on lessons learned, identify success factors, and quantify return on information.

To keep the momentum going, Green unveiled a portfolio of IG products and services for the healthcare industry:

  • The online resource, a site for all things IG
  • IG PulseRateTM, a free assessment tool to allow users to score the maturity of their IG program; “We hope this will enable AHIMA to keep its finger on the pulse of IG adoption in healthcare,” Green said
  • IG AdvisorsTM, a set of comprehensive, customizable consulting and training solutions
  • IG HealthRateTM, a comprehensive exam that includes guidance and coaching, coming in early 2016

Attendees can find out more at the IG Booth (#347) in the Exhibit Hall.

“IG is not a project, it is a structured means of treating information as the strategic asset it is,” Green said. AHIMA aims to support organizations whose goal is to mobilize their IG efforts. “We hope AHIMA will be synonymous with IG and IG will be synonymous with AHIMA.”

‘Information Systems Should Knit
Us Together’

Speaker Joe Flower, author of How to Get What We Pay For: A Handbook for Healthcare Revolutionaries, called for change in the fundamental models and paradigms of healthcare. “If I collapsed here, would they be able to call up my records from Kaiser in California? No way,” Flower said. “Getting health information right is of existential importance to the future of healthcare.”

Change is possible, Flower said, but the industry must drop its fee-for-service, code-driven business model, which is riddled with high prices and waste. “We are used to getting paid for waste,” he said. “We do it because we can.”

Flower also called for more transparency and interoperability in healthcare technology. “Information systems should knit us together across enterprises and teams and to the patient,” he said. “We are not here to serve the industry, we’re here to serve the patient.”

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