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Customer Experience and Design

Increased Focus on Governance at HIMSS 2011

As I look over the various sessions and presentations for the 2011 HIMSS conference, I’m excited to see an increased focus on data governance as a topic. At the same time, I ask myself “is it enough?”

Data governance in healthcare (especially in the provider space), has often been a neglected and forgotten critical component for success. Organizations are either too silo’d, have distributed operational authority, or have resources spread so thin to effectively address governance. Unfortunately, not implementing governance is just perpetuating operational inefficiencies, driving up costs and maxing out resources.

So why are healthcare providers in this situation? Taking a look to the past offers a glimpse into their current situation.

Growing Through Mergers and Acquisitions

Often, providers have grown through acquisitions of or mergers with other facilities and organizations. While this provides increased economies of scale, broader/deeper clinical expertise and increased presence/prestige locally, geographically and nationally, it has also created some of the most common challenges providers are experiencing today. Care has not always been given to ensure that all aspects of integrating the acquired/merged organization are addressed. Often, the acquired/merged organization continues to largely operate as an independent entity from an operational, administrative and/or technology perspective. While this offers tremendous benefits in some areas, it does create challenges in others. Duplication of effort, data and applications create operational inefficiencies, drive up costs and even can lead to decreased patient satisfaction.

Narrow Focus of Application Selection and Implementation

As provider organizations have selected and implemented applications, care has not always been taken to ensure that they have an enterprise view and integrate well with other parts of the organization. Even with something as critical as an EMR, it has often focused with only the clinical side of the house in mind (and sometimes with a too narrow focus even within the clinical world). Not addressing the enterprise aspect of applications leads to the same challenged noted above.

Best of Breed Application Strategy

Many organizations have pursued a “best of breed” application strategy in the past vs. an enterprise platform. There are pro’s and con’s to each approach. However, when pursuing a best of breed application strategy, the necessary steps have not always been taken to ensure proper integration and interaction between applications. This has often led to point solution integration, increased manual effort to report and analyze data across systems, redundant processes and increased support costs.

And things aren’t getting any simpler. Healthcare organizations are experiencing change at a more rapid pace than ever. Things such as implementation of EMR’s, EMPI’s, Health Information Exchanges, government regulations, 4010/501 and ICD-9/ICD-10 migrations etc. are pushing organizations to the limit. They are starting to feel the effect of not taking an enterprise view of operations, applications and data in the past. Many organizations have realized the need for governance to drive the enterprise view and reaping the benefits in the form of more efficient operations, reduced costs, increased patient satisfaction and quicker application implementations. Unfortunately, others have not yet gone down this path. They continue to develop point solutions, fail to properly integrate acquired/merged operations and not give the proper focus on the enterprise view.

I’m hopeful that the increased focus at HIMSS 2011 will cause these organizations to see the tremendous benefits that governance can bring. I’m just concerned that the message might not be received. We would love to meet you and discuss Business Intelligence and Data Governance in Healthcare. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a more viable and world-class healthcare system, please visit us at our HIMSS Booth #3681.

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