The role of information governance in Health IT: Ep 21, HealthcareTalks

When you’re going to begin your journey from a, uh, paper based to a digital environment, one of the most important things to do at the beginning is to say who gets to decide when things go digital, who gets to decide what my backup policy is, who gets to decide what my archiving policy is, who gets to decide all of these things that need to happen. Most implementations don’t fail because technical people don’t know what to do or that clinical people can’t set up their requirements. Most implementations fail because there’s no decision maker that says this will happen in this order. So governance is just a fancy word of saying who is going to make that decision.

And that’s crucial, setting up a — it could be a committee, hopefully a very small committee, in which decision makers are present on the committee so that when a clinical person says, “Here is my data retention requirement for these items,” a technical person can say, “Great, this is what I’ll set up,” uh, but then prioritizing it, understanding what should be done first, second, and third, budgeting for it, ensuring that the proper vendors are selected. These are all the jobs of a governance group. And so before you embark on your digital strategy, if it’s just one person, it could be two people, it could be five people. Set up that governance structure with the precise goal of saying who makes the decision.

Because remember, most things fail not because you can’t get that done, but because you couldn’t decide who’s going to start what at what time. And so with proper governance in an ILM structure, you’ll be able to say, “Okay, first, we’re going to scan,” or, “No, we’re not going to scan any documents. First, we’re going to start using our systems and set up a backup policy,” or, “No, we’re going to se up archiving first because compliance is our biggest problem.” Governance is crucial before starting, and those are some of the ways that, uh, you can think about it.

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