Leading Information Governance

by: Ann Meehan, RHIA

Information governance (IG) stakeholders all over the globe need to understand what IG is and why it’s important to the success of the healthcare organization. And who better to lead the charge than key IG stakeholders including health IT, HIM, business intelligence, analytics, legal and compliance professionals.   Whether your organization has an IG program in place or not, or whether a program is underway, executive sponsorship and strong IG leadership play a vital role in its success.

Health IT and HIM professionals have been leading and directing activities around patient health information for many years. They know the importance of standardization, documented policies and procedures, accuracy, protection, and accountability, and they understand the need to work collaboratively across all departments of the organization to ensure that patient information is accurate and timely.

IG basically takes health IT and HIM practices and expands it across all types of information, across all business units of the organization.  Every type of information in a healthcare organization needs to be managed with the same precision.  Because information governance includes areas such as strategic thinking, information technology, data governance, analytics, and reimbursement, IG stakeholders may need to dig in to learn more about each of these.








First, let’s start with essential leadership skills. IG leaders must have the following:

  • The vision of why IG is important and the ability to articulate the vision;
  • Ability to align IG with the organization’s strategic goals;
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills;
  • Project management skills; and
  • Coaching and mentoring skills

There are also technical skills that are needed. While it may not be possible to know every technical aspect of IG, it is important that the IG leader knows enough about the topic to speak intelligently. One area that is critical is a firm understanding of payment reform terms and patient care models, including, overall concepts and requirements. A successful transition to any payment and patient care model should be part of the healthcare organization’s strategic goals. Trustworthy data and information is critical to meeting payment reform requirements, and a formal information governance program will ensure strategic alignment.

Big data is another area that IG leaders need to know and understand.

There are many sources for learning the concepts of big data that includes what the concepts of volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and value are.

  • Are you familiar with the many sources of data that include the internet of things (IoT), mobile devices, and patient generated health data?
  • Do you fully understand the difference between metadata and mega data?

These are key concepts of data governance which is one of the IG competencies. Accurate data is needed since it is the input to ensuring the trustworthy output that is information. An organization cannot have information governance without data governance.

These are just examples of subject and industry initiatives of which IG leaders should have a solid knowledge base. Additionally, sign up for e-newsletters so that you can keep current. IG leaders must fully understand what is needed to ensure the success of the healthcare organization as a business. The first order of business is to understand IG and to be able to fully explain it.

Information governance is the next career frontier. It is a great opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, learn more about the business of healthcare, and take a leading role.

Governing Healthcare Information for Payment Reform

Session 176

Ann Meehan, RHIA

February 22 - 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Room: W307A

Orange County Convention Center





in health and IT meet.