Strategies for HIM to Lead IG in an Organization

Unless your organization has a C-suite that’s 100 percent onboard and enthusiastic about information governance (IG)—and the consensus of participants in AHIMA’s Information Governance Thought Leadership Summit on Friday agreed this is unrealistic—then it’s time to be creative and find a trigger.

The roundtable discussion, “Measuring ROI for IG—How to Take the Lead,” moderated by Rita Bowen, MA, RHIA, CHPS, SSGB, discussed strategies for HIM professionals to lead IG in their organizations. To start, Bowen suggested HIM ask some rhetorical questions about their organization.

Those questions included:

  • Do you have appropriate C-suite member involvement in development priorities?
  • Are you able to document measurable improvement, and actively manage process improvements to improve delivery of a specific process?
  • Will there be an outcome of the initiative by creating or at least sustaining competitive advantage?
Rita Bowen (far right) leads a roundtable discussion at the AHIMA IG Summit.

Rita Bowen (far right) leads a roundtable discussion at the AHIMA IG Summit.

Identifying IG Triggers

Next, Bowen turned the discussion over to audience members who shared pivotal moments that led to the creation of IG programs in their organizations.

Chrisann Lemery, MS, RHIA, CHPS, FAHIMA, noted that there’s a small part of the HIPAA Security Rule regarding integrity that can help with IG.

“I used that [the security rule integrity regulation] when I worked at a health plan to set up IG. The protection of data is important, but it gets pushed by the wayside. Once you talk accuracy and completeness, it gets attention,” Lemery said.

For several of the roundtable participants, lawsuits were the precipitating events that accelerated the implementation of IG programs. One attendee discussed an incident in which a transcriptionist in her department filed an unfair labor practice lawsuit. As a result, the plaintiff’s attorney requested three years’ worth of the HIM director’s sent e-mails, which she had to turn over.

Bowen shared an experience she had working in a health system when, during a lawsuit, her own and others’ e-mails were subpoenaed. To comply, the system had to shut down its entire e-mail system during the e-discovery process.

“That was the jump start for my organization’s IG system,” Bowen said.

Or, as Carol Stainbrook, CEO of Cohasset Associates, bluntly put it, “The number one person you can sell IG to is someone who has been deposed.”

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