Data governance

Focus on Data Governance in Healthcare: Part One of a Three-Part Series on Data Governance, Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence | King and Spalding

Hospital systems, provider groups, and other healthcare organizations are uniquely positioned to drive technological innovation in healthcare service delivery, largely through the patient and other data to which they have access. access. Additionally, given the proliferation of data touchpoints generated by patient care activity, there is a wealth of data that enables better patient outcomes, facilitates business intelligence, helps identify and to risk management, reduces data management costs and optimizes performance management. . Key to achieving this patient care and operational efficiency is a robust data governance program that protects data while enabling real-time access to trusted data. This column explores the key elements of a data governance program, the benefits of data governance, as well as the risks associated with gaps in data governance.

Key elements of a data governance program.Four of the key elements that make up a data governance program include: data owners, data mapping, data classification, and policies and procedures. Data owners are responsible for data assets in a specific domain and ensure that information in their domain is accessed and managed appropriately across all systems and business functions.

Data mapping is a technical process that connects or matches data fields in one system or database with the same data elements in another system or database. The primary goals of data mapping are to integrate data sources to create a single source of truth. This process eliminates data duplication and identifies who is using the data and for what purpose.

Data classification involves analyzing data from a system or database and organizing it into categories. Data is classified based on data characteristics such as data sensitivity and regulations associated with their access, usage and storage requirements. An example of a data category is data containing protected health information. Categorizing data is particularly important given the limitations on the use and disclosure of individually identifiable data under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) and its regulations. of application.

Finally, a data governance program includes written policies, procedures, and standards that govern how an organization will store, move, modify, access, secure, and transmit data. It is important to involve data owners in creating an organization’s data governance policies and procedures, a task that is made easier if the organization has already mapped and classified data to determine the nature and scope of data created across the healthcare organization. .

Additionally, an organization should implement internal controls and audit plans to ensure that data owners and others with access to data comply with data governance policies, procedures, and standards. Using data governance software will help enforce data governance policies, including compliance with access rules, monitoring and reporting requirements, and data quality solutions.

The benefits of good data governance.Data governance provides organizations with visibility into the creation, use, and retention of their data assets. A data governance program will also:

  • Reduce the cost of maintaining data by eliminating information data silos or shadow IT

  • Improve data quality

  • Increase regulatory compliance with privacy and security laws

  • Optimize staff efficiency by reducing redundancy and duplication

  • Improve process efficiency

  • Single source of truth

  • Enable rapid destruction of data when retention period expires

Data governance mitigates the risk of breaches and unauthorized disclosures. An organization that does not have a data governance program risks creating and maintaining disparate data systems, or shadow IT, making it difficult to see where and how the organization’s data is used. . The organization is likely to have data integrity issues that negatively impact the organization’s data analytics efforts and the accuracy of its business intelligence. Perhaps most importantly, an organization that has not implemented a data governance program increases the likelihood that it will experience cybersecurity breaches and attempt to access organizational data systems without authorization. potentially in violation of federal privacy laws and other laws.

As new data privacy regulations increase and healthcare organizations strive to implement data analytics programs, a data governance program becomes an integral part of doing business. . However, focusing solely on protecting patient information can slow down or even prohibit access to needed data. Therefore, it is important to focus on data governance as a whole rather than the data itself.