The Importance of Data Governance in Hospitals


Data governance can be defined as the process an organization or institution follows to ensure that high-quality data exists in its authentic and accurate state throughout its complete life cycle. Data governance also describes an evolutionary process for a company, altering the company’s way of thinking and setting up the processes to handle information so that it may be utilized by the entire organization. It’s about using technology when necessary in many forms to help aid the process. When companies desire or are required, to gain control of their data, they empower their people, set up processes and get help from technology to do it. Data governance is used in different industries including the healthcare industry. Data Governance in Hospitals seeks to ensure that when it comes to patient data and other forms of data needed for the effective and efficient provision of healthcare, there is availability, usability, integrity, and security. This includes establishing processes to ensure important data assets are formally managed throughout the hospital, and the data can be trusted for medical decision-making. Often the processes used in data governance include accountability for any adverse event that results from data quality.

What is a Good Data Governance Strategy?

In order to develop a good data governance plan, hospitals and healthcare organizations must first recognize the need for accurate data in all levels of the organization. This will provide an understanding of where to start which is better at the top. Healthcare organizations that commit to making governance a top priority on every rung of the corporate ladder are more likely to see success and to adequately support their health information management staff during the process. Involving organizational leaders can help jumpstart the development of a cross-departmental information governance team.  Providers should clearly define their information governance goals and create measurable benchmarks to gauge executed progress.  Each member of the governance team should have a set of well-understood tasks and responsibilities and should be given the opportunity to provide input, listen to feedback from their peers, and work across departmental lines to achieve their objectives. These principles should be communicated clearly across the organization, and members of the data governance leadership team should take the time to explain the project in detail to staff members, answer any questions, and ensure widespread buy-in for improvement activities. Healthcare organizations should also include opportunities for continued monitoring and ongoing improvement as they create their data governance strategies.  End-users should receive regular training and reminders about optimal data integrity and data entry practices, and organizations should conduct frequent internal audits and assessments to ensure they are maintaining a high level of data quality.

These activities will ensure that healthcare providers are prepared to utilize their growing big data resources for generating actionable insights and that they are being mindful of patient safety and care quality as they optimize their assets for the future of value-based care.

Closing Thoughts:

The Sanders Philosophy of Data Governance

A health practitioner called Sanders says that his philosophy of data governance is to make the data as lean as possible. Healthcare organizations should govern the smallest possible data in order to achieve the greater common good. When healthcare organization governs too much data too soon, it leads to unnecessary constraints on data and wasted manpower and labor. Some data do not need governing right away and should be kept aside until the appropriate time when it’s needed. Pairing the data governance function with overseeing the development and evolution of an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) gives the data governance committee something tangible to govern. Bind no data before its time, and govern no data before its time.