Organizations Share Best Practices for Implementing IG Initiatives

Organizations Share Best Practices for Implementing IG Initiatives

As the healthcare industry continues to shift, taking on new technological advancements and the flood of Big Data, more and more organizations are adopting information governance (IG) programs. Some have been practicing IG for more than a decade, others have adopted IG over the last several years, and many are in the early phases of adoption. No matter where an organization is with its current state of IG, it is never too late to get on the “IG train.”

During Monday’s action-packed IG session, a group of panelists spoke about their organization’s journey to IG with the aid of AHIMA’s IGHealthRate™. IGHealthRate is a free assessment tool that allows organizations to gauge their maturity in the 10 Information Governance Adoption Model (IGAM™) competency areas and 77-plus different maturity markers. Each panelist’s organization was at a different point in IG maturity and in different phases of their IG journeys.

Melany Merryman, BA, MSL, RHIA, CRCR, represented Torrance Memorial Medical Center, a California-based hospital in the beginning phases of IG. Cindy Zak, MS, RHIA, PMP, FAHIMA, represented Yale New Haven Health, a Connecticut-based hospital that has a very mature IG program. Michelle Hermann, MS, RHIA, and Katherine Lusk, MHSM, RHIA, FAHIMA, represented Children’s Health System of Dallas, a Texas-based hospital that has a highly advanced IG program.

Each of the varying levels of maturity across the three participating organizations provided the audience with new insights into where to begin, what can be accomplished when a mature IG program is in place, and what it looks like to operate an organization where IG is far advanced and embedded in the organizational culture. The panelists answered six questions to illustrate how they got to where they are with IG:

  1. Why was IG an imperative for your organization—and what pain point “got the ball rolling”?
  2. How did you get buy-in from executives, leaders, and other stakeholders in the organization?
  3. How is IG work structured within your organization?
  4. What has been your focus?
  5. What is the biggest challenge right now?
  6. What have you accomplished in the last year?

These are questions that all organizations should ask themselves when developing and sustaining an IG program. All three organizations noted that the lack of standardization across the board was part of what motivated them to start IG programs. Whether it was the lack of standardization of one electronic health record (EHR) across multiple facilities or an undesirable master patient index duplication rate, these organizations knew that IG was the strategic approach for improvements. As a result, each organization got the support they needed from enthusiastic leaders by having conversations about their organization’s pain points and demonstrating how IG is the solution.

Torrance Memorial Medical Center, still in its early stages of IG, is currently focused on implementing a policy and procedure management system that will be the central platform for managing policies and procedures to standardize enterprise-wide content and aid in the information lifecycle. This system will replace the current approach to policy and procedure management where the policies and procedures are Word documents stored in various locations and the documentation process itself is mostly manual, labor intensive, and not streamlined enterprise-wide.

Yale New Haven Health highlighted their retention and disposition project. As a large university hospital that has a large research component, Yale New Haven Health was maintaining records from when the organization first opened back in the 1800s. Their new plan has been to retain records for 25 years and to either digitize (for historic purposes) or destroy all other records that have met their retention period and no longer serve a business purpose. Through the information asset inventory and workforce education, Yale New Haven Health has seen an improvement and return on investment with their retention and disposition program.

Children’s Health System of Dallas discussed their efforts on patient matching for patients with disabilities as a result of receiving 500 requests for disability on a monthly basis. By streamlining the process and using email addresses and phone numbers to improve the matching of these patients, the outcomes resulted in not only operational efficiency and cost savings, but also improved patient and family satisfaction during difficult times of managing chronic illnesses. Children’s Health System of Dallas’s IG efforts have had a profound impact on the community, Lusk said.

For more information on how IGHealthRate can help your organization begin or advance IG, visit and click “Qualify Today.”