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Data Governance in Healthcare: An All-Inclusive Guide for Secure Health Information Management

Healthcare organizations deal with HUGE amounts of data every day, and most of it is highly confidential and sensitive. Currently, 30% of the world's data is generated by the healthcare industry and growing all the time. How do healthcare organizations ensure data is secure and managed properly? Explore health data governance (including Health Information Management), why you need it, and how to do it well below.

What is Data Governance?

According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), data governance is “The overall administration, through clearly defined procedures and plans, that assures the availability, integrity, security, and usability of the structured and unstructured data available to an organization.” Data Governance includes the people, processes, and systems involved throughout the data lifecycle, and evaluating how data impacts an organization.

What is Health Information Management?

Health Information Management is the practice of gathering, analyzing, and protecting medical information to provide high quality care. Health Information Management professionals are the link between clinicians, administrators, and IT professionals as they ensure patient data is correct, secure, and ready to use in the right way. If you have a great data governance structure and solution, your health information management will also be up to par.

Why Do Healthcare Organizations Care About Data Governance?

HIM and Data governance are intertwined as the primary goal of both is to ensure data is secure, manageable, and accessible to those who need access to it. Because Healthcare professionals rely on data to be securely stored, accessed, and managed for nearly everything they do, it's crucial that data has structures and roles in place. This data includes patient information, medical history records, health guidelines, compliance information, and so much more. Many healthcare organizations use the data-flow structure of capture, process, use, store, and dispose to govern their data. This structure helps healthcare orgs stay organized and efficient as data is easily pulled into other applications that manipulate, categorize, and structure data in easy-to-understand ways. What are the Benefits of Data Governance in Healthcare? With a data governance structure in place, here are some of the benefits for healthcare organizations and their personnel:

  • Identity management allows only specified users to access and manipulate data, which reduces risk and user errors

  • Secure and accessible patient health information

  • Data quality and accuracy

  • The ability to use both unstructured and structured data

  • Easier integrations with 3rd party data tools

  • An improved user experience. For example, healthcare professionals can now:

  • Easily create and view actionable reports

  • Easily share data with other healthcare professionals

  • Quickly categorize customer surveys

  • View all patient information and history in one location

  • Perform faster queries and searches

  • Access current data from multiple devices at once

  • Improved customer satisfaction as they can more quickly share updated and accurate data

  • Manage on-premises, multi-cloud, and SaaS data in one specific location which reduces risk, simplifies access, and stores data long term. Microsoft Purview is one example of a data governance solution that does this.

How to Overcome Top Data Governance Challenges in Healthcare?

See below for five of the most common data governance challenges facing the Healthcare world and how to overcome them.

  1. Healthcare professionals can’t access data when needed. Defined roles, permissions, and authorities in place grant consistent access to those who are supposed to have it.

  2. Data is at risk and susceptible to inside/outside threats. Enlist multifactor authentication and other cloud security technologies to prevent outside threats.

  3. Unorganized and siloed data. Find the right data governance solution that will best work with and efficiently manage your data depending on the amount and type.

  4. Lack of resources. Data can be turned into powerful analytics for health organizations if they have enough resources to dedicate to the cause. These resources are data owners, data stewards, data architects, and executives giving those data specialists direction.

  5. Lack of staff integration and necessary training. Organizations should train their professionals on proper data governance practices, and why it's important. Data specialists should understand how data affects daily operations and processes, so they know how to best manage and govern relevant data.

What’s the Best Data Governance Solution?

One governance solution that works seamlessly with healthcare data is Microsoft Purview. This permits organizations to maintain data governance, security, and compliance solutions all in one place. Some valuable features Purview provides are data discovery, traceability, and searchability. Users can search what the original data sources was, where the entity is shared, who has access, and any connections or integrations it has. Also, Microsoft Purview is an Azure service, so its spend is run under the pay-as-you-use model. This allows organizations cost efficiency as they are in the process of migrating their estate.

Who Should be Concerned with Healthcare Data Governance?

C-suite and IT managers share responsibility in ensuring proper data governance, yet every healthcare employee is affected by it. As leadership relays the significance of proper data governance, and the solutions and tools they enlist for it, this affects data engineers and end users. With healthcare leaders focusing on data governance and efficient health information management, data can be more easily managed and accessed by the right people and roles.

Ready to Elevate Your Data?

If you are looking to implement Microsoft Purview, or learn more about data governance, contact a JourneyTEAM data engineer today!


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