It’s IG’s Time to Step Outside of ICD-10’s Shadow

By: In: Healthcare On: Sep 25, 2015
It’s IG’s Time to Step Outside of ICD-10’s Shadow

Many of the storylines from the 1970’s hit sitcom, The Brady Bunch, focused on the sibling rivalry between middle-sister Jan, and her seemingly more popular and accomplished older-sister, Marcia.  In one of the most iconic episodes of the series, Jan is upset that big-sister Marcia gets all the attention and things seem to come much easier to her.  Tired of living in Marcia’s shadow, Jan enviously chants, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”, acknowledging that she’s reached her breaking point and is fed up with being second fiddle to a sister who seems to have it all.

In the world of Health Information Management, for the better part of the last year or two, Information Governance (IG) has lived in the shadow of ICD-10.  While in no way I am I trying to diminish the importance that ICD-10 will have in advancing healthcare, it’s simply hard to get the organization’s attention and resources when you’re up against an initiative as significant as ICD-10.  With the October 1st compliance deadline looming, IG will soon be able to step out of the shadow of ICD-10.  And, while your focus can’t shift overnight, I do expect a gradual sharing of the spotlight.

Carol Brady said it best when trying to console her middle child with the encouraging words, “If you really feel you’re in your sister’s shadow, do something about it.”  So, what can you do to ensure that IG gets its fair share of your organization’s resources and support?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • First, focus on leadership and organizational commitment. In addition to creating a governance structure, you’ll want to build a high-level business case for governance that aligns with your organization’s strategic goals.
  • Next, you should ensure you have an up-to-date retention policy that is well-documented and easily enforceable across your enterprise. As you regularly refresh your policy, be sure to centralize change management to manage version control.
  • Once you have a retention policy that can be consistently applied, you’ll be in a great position to get control over your information.
    • A good place to start is by inventorying your information systems, to identify where high-risk, high-value data resides and to ensure you can respond quickly in the event of legal discovery and to help you better manage legacy IT applications.
    • Centralizing and consolidating records offsite is a great way to manage paper records through their required retention period as they become more archival.
    • You’ll want to assess your current records inventory using a programmatic, rules-based approach for classifying records to develop a defensible approach to destruction that can dramatically reduce costs and risks.
    • And finally, you should initiate a process to eliminate duplicate and fragmented records within and across your various patient databases and downstream systems.
  • Next, you’ll need to evaluate operational performance to deliver valuable insights.
  • And lastly, ongoing maintenance, measures and metrics are needed for continuous improvement as enterprise information management is a discipline that is built on and improved over time.

Now is the time for IG to step out of the shadow of ICD-10 and assume its rightful place as a properly funding and resourced initiative within your organization.   And, as Health Information Management professionals you can help shape the vision of information governance within your organization by challenging the status quo and rationalizing legacy HIM processes.  With your leadership and expertise, I look forward to the day someone’s jealously chanting, “IG, IG, IG – that’s all we ever hear about!”  Come visit me at this year’s AHIMA Conference in booth #423 to continue the conversation.

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About the author

Karen Snyder

Director, Industry Solutions Marketing, Iron Mountain Karen Snyder joined Iron Mountain in 2005 as the Product Marketing Manager for the company’s healthcare vertical. She is currently leading Iron Mountain’s industry solutions marketing efforts, focusing on healthcare, government and the legal vertical. Ms. Snyder was instrumental in launching the Digital Record Center® for Medical Images and the Iron Mountain EMR Enablement Solution, and was the recipient of Iron Mountain’s prestigious President’s Award in 2008. Prior to joining Iron Mountain, Ms. Snyder spent over 12 years in various marketing, strategy and finance positions at AT&T. She graduated with distinction, earning a dual-MBA in Marketing and International Business from New York University (NYU) and also holds a B.S. degree in Accounting from NYU.