Next Gen Information Management Pro: From The Basement To The Field

By: In: ARMA 2015 On: Jul 27, 2015

The 6th blog in the Healthcare Information Governance Predictions & Perspectives blog series. This blog series is focused on Health IG Professional Readiness

I recently laughed my way through Melissa McCarthy’s new movie, “Spy.” As the show begins, Melissa’s character is tucked away in a vermin-ridden basement controlling with her wits, training, and use of technology how her Bond-like counterpart conducts a critical mission. There is no doubt that she is the brains behind the operation, yet she is completely under-valued and her talents under-estimated by everyone, including senior leadership. Sound familiar?

In a recent Iron Mountain study, we found that 70 percent of business leaders don’t fully understand what their records and information managers do. In return, 58 percent of records and information managers admit they don’t know exactly what senior business leaders want and need from them. And 75 percent are confused about the information needs of colleagues in marketing, manufacturing, finance, and other functions.

The good news is that the study also found that 81 percent of records and information managers have confidence in their ability to help business units, and the overall enterprise, not only minimize risk and cost, but also to maximize the value of their information. This suggests that the gap in perception is created by a lack of understanding and poor communication, rather than an inability to deliver. Business leaders need to better understand what records and information managers can contribute while at the same time information professionals need to align more closely with business needs.

So what needs to change?

In Melissa’s case, her heroine breaks out of her shell (both self-imposed and imposed on her) and inserts herself into the mix – going out into the field to foil a terrorist plot using all of the skills she’s learned over the years.

In the case of a Health Information Management (HIM) or Records Information Management (RIM) professional, this will require taking similar action.  You’ll need to insert – or force – your way into conversations about big data and analytics, wherever they take place – and how we need to balance risk-related requirements with the broader usage of data for improved outcomes and competitive advantage. You need a point of view about why we should or shouldn’t keep all information, as well as how to remove as many information management tasks from our employees’ day-to-day duties by leveraging business unit workflows and technology.

And you’ll have to take a primary role in forming your organization’s information management strategy.  There are more areas where you are needed, but these activities require urgent attention in order to bring immediate and sustaining value to your organization.

What does that mean for Information Management Professionals?

There is no doubt that data analytics has the attention of business leaders – in public and private entities and across all industries. In fact, preliminary results from research being conducted on information value for Iron Mountain by PriceWaterhouseCoopers shows that the US Healthcare sector leads all other industries in leveraging the value of information you create and receive. That said, at the recent Chief Information Governance Officer Summit held by the Information Governance Initiative, Privacy, IT, RIM, Data Science, and Compliance leaders all agreed that the role and function of a corporate or global RIM team could be overrun by a data analysis/governance counterpart.

The study I cited earlier shows just one in five (21 percent) business leaders have complete confidence in their organization’s ability to extract the full value from its information. These trends and their impact are echoed elsewhere, with one global study Virtuous Circle of Data, EIU published in February 2015, finding that just 27 percent of organizations say their employees have access to the data they need, and 42 percent admit that access to their data is cumbersome.

As I have learned from discussions with data analysts and scientists, they need domain expertise to be most effective. And they need to know what systems and applications hold which data, its age and authenticity, access controls, privacy requirements, cross border considerations, and more.

In true “Spy” mode, I urge you, the health information professional, to get involved in the conversation – and actions being taken – about analytics. Your expertise as a RIM professional puts you at the heart of conversations that are happening now. And once your voice is heard, you’ll have more credibility grappling with the other issues I’ve mentioned in this blog. Don’t be satisfied with instructing someone else as you sit in a space removed from the action. Dare to get out in the field and show your organization just how valuable you are.

Join our Twitter Chat: Healthcare IG Professional Readiness: Predictions and Perspectives #InfoTalk

On July 29th at 10:00am PT/1:00 pm ET, @IronMtnHealth is hosting a Twitter chat using #InfoTalk to further the dialog. If you have been involved in governance-related projects, we’d love to have you join. Topics include how your organizations’ IG oversight body is utilizing the principles of IG; the IG disciplines that comprise your job responsibilities, and the tactics you are using to strengthen IG-related skills? Join in to keep the conversation going.

Hear more voices from the thought leaders of the healthcare industry by reading the rest of the blogs in this series: Health IG Professional Readiness.

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About the author

Sue Trombley

Sue Trombley, Managing Director of Thought Leadership at Iron Mountain, has more than 25 years of information governance consulting experience. Prior to her current role, Trombley led Iron Mountain’s Consulting group responsible for business development, managing a team of subject matter experts, and running large engagements. Trombley holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and recently was certified as an Information Government Professional. She sits on the AIIM Board, the University of Texas at Austin of School of Information Advisory Council, and is President of the Boston ARMA Chapter. She is Iron Mountain’s representative on the newly formed Information Governance Initiative and is frequent speaker at association events.