UC San Diego Health masters data governance to improve system performance

The health system said IG enables providers to deliver better care and improve patient engagement while also controlling costs and claims denials. 
By Chris Nerney
09:47 AM
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UC San Diego governance

Photo courtesy of UC San Diego. 

Delivering quality healthcare relies on the ability of providers to easily share trusted and relevant patient information. But the sheer volume of data and proliferation of sources makes managing it a serious challenge. How can provider organizations guarantee their patient data is accurate, complete, and available to the right people and systems when needed?

One answer: information governance.

While definitions vary, IG essentially is a framework for managing information in a way that ensures it can be trusted through its entire lifecycle and across the organization. Done well, IG can help providers deliver better care, increase organizational efficiency, and improve both collaboration and patient engagement while controlling costs and claims denials, according to Cassi Birnbaum, system-wide senior director of health information management and revenue integrity at UC San Diego Health System.

[Also: Healthcare data: A beast best tamed by machine learning?]

Information governance is more than IT’s job, Birnbaum said. Successful IG requires buy-in at all levels of a healthcare organization, from the C-suite to patient-facing employees.

“You have to look at what’s being collected on the front end,” Birnbaum added. “Sometimes it seems there are fields that don’t even seem to matter much, but when mapped incorrectly or just not configured at all, it can make a huge difference.”

Incorrectly mapped fields not only can lead to gaps in care because providers are missing patient information, they can cost providers financially. For example, if administrative staffers fail to map fields that define and consistently identify when a patient is scheduled to be readmitted, the hospital could face a readmission penalty, Birnbaum explained.

Birnbaum recommended beginning an IG journey began with gap analysis and assessment, then using the IG Adoption Model developed by the American Health Information Management Association to assure integrity of all information used.

Birnbaum said CIOs and other senior IT executives, healthcare business decision-makers, physicians — as well as anyone who collects, manages or wants to access the data should be involved.

Birnbaum and Elaine Lips, president and chief executive officer of health information management consulting firm ELIPSe, Inc., will discuss UC San Diego's experiences implementing IG.

The session “Using Information Governance for Health System Performance Improvement” is slated for Wednesday, February 22, from 4 - 5 p.m. EST in Room 207C of the Orange County Convention Center.

HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19 to 23, 2017, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. 


This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.


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