Health information connects all aspects of patient care. Physicians use information in the patient’s record to determine treatments and services, identify patients and communicate with other clinicians. Insurance companies use information documented in the health record to determine payments to health care providers, as well as what a patient will ultimately owe for the care they receive.

What’s in our way?

But the industry continues to struggle to properly capture, use, store and protect all that information. Health record breaches, physician concerns with the user-friendliness of electronic systems and a lack of interoperability are a few examples of how health care information practices need to improve.

“Trusted, reliable clinical and administrative information can be shared to create innovative care delivery models that have measurable impact on the cost and quality of care, as well as patent satisfaction.”

Health care organizations can meet this challenge by ensuring the quality and integrity of health care data through good information governance processes. This means proper management of information throughout its lifecycle—from initial capture, use by health care providers, patients and authorized representatives, long-term storage of information and eventually destruction or disposal.

Perks for patients and providers

Put simply, information governance can be defined as an organization-wide framework for managing information throughout its lifecycle and supporting the organization’s strategy, operations and regulatory, legal and environmental requirements.

Both patients and providers can benefit from the use of robust information governance programs. Patients will benefit from access to their information to manage their own health. Providers will benefit from documentation that is complete, specific, timely, legible and relevant. Information governance practices in health care also support and benefit communities. Trusted, reliable clinical and administrative information can be shared to create innovative care delivery models that have measurable impact on the cost and quality of care, as well as patent satisfaction.

Health care needs information governance to create a future where trusted information can be used securely and reliably across health care organizations in support of safe, cost-effective care and overall improvement in population health. Information governance will ensure that health information is available where and when it is needed—for a better health care system for providers and patients.