First, kudos to AHIMA for helping raise information governance awareness by sponsoring a Twitter chat on February 20, “Global Information Governance Day.” As an information governance professional, I am encouraged that industry associations like AHIMA are picking up the reins to drive both the visibility and importance of information governance in the enterprise.
As Lynne Thomas Gordon succinctly wrote in her recent iHealthBeat article, information governance is not new to many industries, but does represent a change for healthcare. Familiar themes were mirrored in yesterday’s Twitter chat, including:
- The need to tie information governance to corporate goals
- The fact that to be successful, information governance must have C-level support
- The importance of engaging a multi-disciplinary team to drive an information governance program
- The likelihood that a specific change agent may be required to get things moving
- The uncertainty of determining who “owns” the responsibility for information governance
Though all are important, the last requirement may be the most critical and elusive. A simple response is that ownership begins with individual accountability. Although senior leadership will likely own the program, each employee must also be held accountable for her creation, use and disposition of information. But since accountability presumes guidance, a good information governance program will require these minimum building blocks:
Structure – a legally-valid retention schedule, file plans and connections between information repositories
Direction – up-to-date, integrated policies, procedures and training
Resources – information management expertise, technology, and compliance oversight
Not sure how well you are managing your information assets? Here are a few self-evaluation questions to help you gain perspective.