Convention Q&A: Information Governance: New Perspectives and Global Experiences

The 2018 AHIMA convention session “Information Governance (IG): New Perspectives and Global Experiences” will take place Monday, September 24 from 1:30 – 2:15 p.m. in room 230 of the Miami Beach Convention Center, with presenters Linda Kloss, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA; Lorraine Fernandes, RHIA; and Angelika Haendel, MA. The Journal of AHIMA recently spoke with Fernandes, for a preview of the session.

Journal of AHIMA: Why is now the time for information governance?

Fernandes: The proliferation of electronic data and the diffusion of this across all sectors of the economy and globe have created the perfect storm for information governance. Citizens, data providers, and data users must be able to trust the accuracy, consistency, and privacy of this relatively new information. Further, individual rights regarding access and control of one’s information are being reaffirmed and translated for the digital age in new data protection laws. Information governance is essential to delivering data and meeting the diverse and sometimes conflicting expectations. During her presentation, Angelika Haendel, MA, will share the very new implications of the General Data Protection Guidelines (GDPR) in the European Union which are profound in their global impact, and clearly demonstrate the need for IG.

Journal of AHIMA: Can you talk a little about ethical stewardship?

Fernandes: As Linda Kloss, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA, will share in her segment of our presentation, stewardship is an ethic relating to the responsible handling of information. Information governance, as we discuss in the International Federation of Health Information Management Associations (IFHIMA) white paper, sets the guardrails and ground rules for executing this vital ethical responsibility. Ethical stewardship entails designing and executing policy and corresponding procedures to ensure global principles like the Fair Information Practice Principles dating from the 1970s, the Caldicott Principles, and stewardship models, including HIPAA, that continue to evolve.

Journal of AHIMA: What’s next for IFHIMA?

Fernandes: IFHIMA will be including information governance in our November 2019 Congress in Dubai and further exploring the global implications in the context of healthcare and our 24 member nations. IFHIMA is also further exploring the privacy implications of governance through the 2019 Congress and an upcoming white paper. IFHIMA is a non-governmental organization (NGO) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and in this role we are front and center in the ICD-11 formal adoption by the WHO. IG tenants, while not explicitly called out in the development of ICD-11, are key to ensuring new coded health data is accurate, consistent, and transparent. The integrity of code translation from prior ICD versions is front and center to the developments, and the explosion of digital data is readily apparent in the new policies, processes, and tools that the WHO has developed.

Journal of AHIMA: Can you talk a little about the “natural fit” between HIM and IG?

Fernandes: HIM has always been about IG. The heart of HIM practice is today and has always been about ensuring sound policies and practices for integrity, lifecycle management, and access and disclosure management. Today, the scope of responsibilities has grown because the information is digital and on the move. HIM professionals have the unique opportunity to execute and promote IG, as we understand how data is created, have long embraced the core tenants of IG through the decades of paper-based records, and now our era of digital data. And, we have long been very vocal proponents of the need to safeguard and use data based upon law, consumer expectations, and advancement of health and wellness. We are information curators managing the lifecycle of data.

Journal of AHIMA: What would you like members to take away from this session?

Fernandes: Angelika, Linda, and I hope the audience will be energized to promote governance in their respective roles and organization and realize that there are many avenues for governance. Just find the door that is slightly ajar, or the window that is open a crack, and use the IG principles to advance change that will benefit all of us as consumers and as HIM professionals.


Lorraine Fernandes, RHIA, is the principal and founder of Fernandes Healthcare Insights in Bigfork, MT, and President-Elect of IFHIMA.

Linda Kloss, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA, is the president and founder of Kloss Strategic Advisors, Ltd., in Vero Beach, FL.

Angelika Haendel, MA, is director of DRG and quality controlling, University in Erlangen, Nuremberg Germany and Immediate Past President of IFHIMA.

The 2018 AHIMA convention session “Information Governance (IG): New Perspectives and Global Experiences” will take place Monday, September 24 from 1:30 – 2:15 p.m. in room 230 of the Miami Beach Convention Center.

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