Convention Q&A: What to Expect on the Path to Information Governance

Within the last two years, independent non-profit health system Banner Health, which operates 28 hospitals in six states, as well as three academic medical centers, physician clinics, urgent care centers, and a health plan division, with corporate office in Phoenix, AZ, participated in AHIMA’s

Jami Woebkenberg, MHIM, RHIA, CPHI

information governance (IG) pilot program. A presentation at AHIMA’s Convention this October in Los Angeles, CA by Jami Woebkenberg, MHIM, RHIA, CPHI, director, AZ West HIMS Service Center, and Jannifer Owens, MSA, BSHA, CCS, CPC, CIRCC, senior HIMS coding director, will trace Banner Health’s path to IG. The Journal of AHIMA talked to them both, with Woebkenberg, who leads IG at Banner, taking the lead in our interview.

First, why is IG important? Why right now? 

Woebkenberg: IG has been important to industries such as banking and its importance in healthcare, especially with so much data and information being generated both electronically and in paper, has just recently started to be recognized.

Banner Health was in fact an AHIMA IG pilot site. What motivated Banner Health to take that project on? 

Woebkenberg: Banner Health started along the IG journey several years ago, when IG was introduced to HIM [health information management] professionals by AHIMA. We’re a large organization, and felt it would help us create a more accountable framework for managing information throughout many facets. We recognized we had many of the major components of an IG program. But we needed assistance in developing a formalized program and structure, and AHIMA offered tools that could help. In addition, we felt it was important to illustrate what our professional organization has to offer and showcase our HIMS professionals’ abilities.

How would you contrast the organizational view of IG at Banner Health before you embarked on the pilot vs. after? 

Woebkenberg: We are still working on formalizing the structure, but our executive leaders have now recognized and acknowledged the need. From a HIMS perspective, we continue to move forward with projects that support our IG program–some are more formal, and many are part of our daily activities. As we embark upon the next iteration of healthcare, we feel that, with IG, we are (or will be) in a better position to manage future work in the IG competencies, data governance, analytics, regulatory and legal, etc.

Jannifer Owens, MSA, BSHA, CCS, CPC, CIRCC

Will your presentation at Convention be geared toward people who have done some IG? No IG?

Woebkenberg: Anyone can glean ideas from this session about how to implement IG, whether they have an already-established IG program or not.

This question is for you both. Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to at Convention or just while you’re in LA?

Woebkenberg: I look forward to networking, attending some exciting evening activities, and receiving an award from Iron Mountain related to IG work we have done with them.

Owens: I’m looking forward to the networking as well, in addition to the education sessions. I think AHIMA provides a great opportunity to network, learn, and help its professionals work toward industry leadership.

Woebkenberg’s and Owens’s session, “Banner Health – Taking the Path of Information Governance,” will take place Wednesday, October 11, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 10:00-11:00 a.m., in Room 411.

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