AHIMA's Information Governance Framework Addresses Current Healthcare Challenges

A new information governance framework of 8 principles from the American Health Information Management Association aims to help meet the patient care, safety, and operational goals of healthcare organizations.

A new information governance framework of 8 principles from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) aims to help meet the patient care, safety, and operational goals of healthcare organizations.

The Information Governance Principles for Healthcare (IGPHC) were unveiled during AHIMA’s annual Convention and Exhibit this week. The principles were chosen to create a framework to ensure complete, timely, and accurate clinical and non-clinical information.

“Healthcare organizations have an obligation to treat information as an asset and to define the policies and practices for governing use of that information,” AHIMA Chief Executive Officer Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA, said in a statement. “These principles will help organizations establish policies and determine accountabilities for governing information so that information can reliably support strategy, operations, legal, and other responsibilities.”

According to AHIMA, all information in healthcare organizations should be governed by accountability, transparency, integrity, protection, compliance, availability, retention, and disposition. As patients entrust their personal information to healthcare organizations, these principles are essential for organizations to earn the confidence of consumers through a commitment to ethical and responsible handling of that information, according to the IGPHC report.

“While the growing volume of information is certainly an information integrity challenge, there are far greater challenges to ensuring trust and integrity that [information governance] will address,” AHIMA's Deborah Green, MBA, RHIA, executive vice president of operations and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “These include the current state of interoperability and lack of rules and standards for documenting in the electronic environment.”

Some of the challenges facing the healthcare industry that the information governance set forth by AHIMA endeavors to address include:

•Expanding numbers of electronic systems/applications in use within and across organizations

•Growing volume and variety of data and information

•Expanding uses of healthcare information

•Proliferation of medical devices creating data for which reliable integration into systems/applications is essential

•State of interoperability across devices and systems

•Reliability of shared and exchanged information

“Reliable information is essential to reducing healthcare delivery costs and improving operational efficiencies,” AHIMA wrote in the IGPHC report. “For these reasons, establishing and implementing principles for the governance of clinical and nonclinical information, in all formats and on all media, increases in significance.”