AHIMA CEO: Information governance critical to success of nation's ehealth initiatives

Jan. 29, 2014

Information governance is an accountability framework that provides clear policies, standards and structure to ensure the integrity of health information and improve patient outcomes. In the wake of several important ehealth initiatives such as ICD-10, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Meaningful Use, American Health Information Management Association CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon RHIA, MBA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA stressed the importance of a robust information governance strategy Tuesday at the eHealth Initiative Annual Conference.

“Information governance gives us the ability to trust information,” Thomas Gordon said. “When we can trust that the health information gleaned from clinical and business data collected has integrity, we can take that intelligence and turn it into knowledge. This is not only essential to surviving in this new environment, but has the potential to revolutionize the way care is delivered.”

To succeed in a shifting healthcare landscape, Thomas Gordon said healthcare organizations must realize information and data governance are foundational and smart use of analytics essential for population health management and improving care while reducing costs.

“We are well into in the age of big data, with mobile apps and social media, not to mention genomics,” Thomas Gordon said. “In order to realize full value of all this information, we need new and more structured approaches to handling and managing it—and this is really where information and data governance come in.”

For example, ICD-10 with its greater specificity will tell a more complete patient story, which will support other healthcare initiatives such as Meaningful Use, EHRs, payment reform and fraud prevention and detection.

In order for information gathered from a patient and entered in an EHR to be meaningful, it must be accurate, timely, and reflect the scope of services. This is where a clinical documentation improvement (CDI) program—the foundation of every health record—is important, Thomas Gordon said. “CDI programs identify deficiencies in clinical documentation and develop methods to ensure the complete and accurate capture of a patient’s clinical encounter,” she added.  

“The need for high quality information continues to be at the forefront of improving the healthcare system,” Thomas Gordon said. “Health Information Management professionals will continue to use their expertise to help healthcare organizations turn information into intelligence.”

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