You Can't Succeed in Information Governance without Trying

By Kathy Downing, MA, RHIA, CHPS, PMP

Every health information management (HIM) leader has their hands full these days. All of us are working hard just to keep up. Despite the ever increasing pace at which the healthcare industry—and HIM—is moving forward, through AHIMA’s information governance (IG) pilot program, we also see our leaders making time to envision a future with IG playing a central role, with efforts led by a chief information governance officer who works tirelessly to support IG policies and practices.

These IG practices encompass a subset of corporate governance including data governance, information management, security, privacy, records retention, risk management, litigation support, compliance and business analytics/intelligence. HIM leaders understand that IG is not a one-time project with a “go-live” date, but rather a three to five year strategy that creates an overarching program to manage and utilize information assets. They understand that the advent of the EHR has created a storm of data in healthcare that is only going to grow exponentially over the next five years. They also realize that if AHIMA members don’t take the lead on information governance in the organization, then someone else will.

The first step on the path to being an IG leader is education. Leaders must be able to identify and describe the need for information governance in your organization. The IG Boot Camps are a great option for a deep dive into how IG applies in your organization regardless of your entity type or size. These events also include lessons learned from the pilot sites and best practices for starting a program in your organization. There are also three IG Leadership Forums scheduled in 2016 to focus on information governance practices as well as leadership skills necessary to handle an enterprise-wide initiative.

The second step is realizing that HIM and IG are not the same. Information governance is made up of ten key competencies, of which enterprise information management is just one. Education can help you understand the tenets of IG and can help you build the business case and value proposition for your organization and determine where you can get a return on investment for IG. AHIMA is offering three free webinars in February, on the 16th, 17th, and 23rd, to start you on the path to establishing a successful program. For more information on AHIMA’s IG resources, visit

Kathy Downing ( is senior director, information governance at AHIMA.

Original source:
Downing, Kathy. "You Can't Succeed in Information Governance without Trying" (Journal of AHIMA website), February 04, 2016.