Healthcare Data Governance: What, Why, and How?

Data governance is a method of data management that helps organizations strike a balance between collecting and securing data while also extracting value from it. But there’s a lot more to it. Patients’ personal and health information, as well as financial information, make up health data. This data, if properly handled and utilized, can be the most valuable asset a facility has.

What is Data Governance in Healthcare?

AHIMA defines data governance in healthcare, also known as information governance, as an organization-wide framework for managing health information throughout its lifecycle—from the time a patient’s information is first entered into the system until they are released. Treatment, payment, research, outcomes improvement, and government reporting are all part of the lifespan (i.e. influenza reporting and other diseases tracked by the agencies such as the CDC).
Having strong enterprise-wide data governance policies and practices aids facilities in meeting the Triple Aim of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement:

  1. Improve the patient experience of care
  2. Improve the health of populations
  3. Reduce the per capita cost of healthcare

In an article titled “Practical Steps to Enterprise Data Governance,” the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) stated that “everyone needs to accept the role of a data steward.” You are responsible for the best data possible whether you acquire, update, alter, delete, move, store, or use data.” Professionals in health information management and technology are included.

Why is Data Governance in Healthcare Important?

In today’s world, digital data is worth its weight in gold. This is true across the board, even in the healthcare industry. Health information is strategically used by organizations for a variety of purposes, including improving operational efficiency, lowering costs, and improving the safety and quality of patient treatment.
To see why data governance is critical in healthcare, consider health data as a strategic asset. This information, like any other organizational asset (such as people, cash, or inventory), requires continual monitoring. Data governance establishes a systematic framework for data management, allowing companies to get clinical and financial value from their data.
Simply said, data governance is critical in healthcare because it is critical for caregivers and leadership to have access to the correct information at the right time and in the right format in order to make appropriate clinical and commercial choices.

How can Data Governance aid Healthcare Practitioners?

Healthcare data affects both people who deliver and receive treatment. Data is crucial because it exposes where healthcare practitioners work, who they refer patients to, and what patients they serve. In healthcare, data governance lets patients connect with the resources and providers that help them attain and maintain good health.

Keeping current information on providers is one of the many issues that healthcare professionals face. Providers can use data governance to figure out whether services are covered by insurance, who to bill, and whether the providers on the list are still in the business of delivering healthcare services.

Enterprise master patient indexes (EMPI) are now being used by many healthcare providers to help manage electronic medical information (EMR). To create a single view of a patient’s health records, indexes use patient information such as names, addresses, gender, and Social Security numbers. By matching multiple records of the same patient and integrating systems together, EMPI provides clinical information, information on admittance, discharge, and transfers, and other essential information to healthcare practitioners.

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