paper summarizing the IG survey results. “Further awareness
raising, prioritization, and connection to drivers and benefits
are essential to increasing adoption in this industry.”
The survey parsed the concept of overall awareness of and
familiarity with IG in two different questions. One addressed
familiarity with IG as a concept and the other asked about
AHIMA’s official definition of IG. Responses to both questions
demonstrated improved recognition of IG when compared to
AHIMA’s 2015 survey that asked the same questions.
“84.6 percent responded that they were familiar with IG, and
74.9 [percent] responded ‘yes’ to a question on familiarity with
AHIMA’s definition of IG. The latter was up from 69 percent
in the 2015 survey,” the white paper states. Additionally, the
white paper notes that while the same question was not asked
in 2015, “89 percent of respondents said AHIMA was their cho-
sen source for IG resources.”
Kristi Fahy, RHIA, information governance analyst at AHI-
MA, says she struggles to understand why adoption rates of
IG are low when awareness is high. One factor, according to
Fahy, is that a big portion of survey respondents were people
working in HIM departments—and while IG projects can start
there, they usually require engagement and initiative from the
C-suite and other leaders.
An explanation is also visible when looking at common bar-
riers to IG adoption. “A common barrier to IG is lack of funding
and stakeholder engagement,” Fahy says. “IG is still a relative-
ly new concept in healthcare so it is difficult to move forward
with it if no one really understands it. That is where AHIMA
comes in and tries to offer up several excellent IG resources,
including the white paper, and of course the IGHealthRate TM
According to survey results, even in organizations that have
IG programs, organization-wide lack of awareness and under-
standing has proven to be a barrier, with funding for IG be-
ing the second-largest factor. The white paper suggests that
the best way to mitigate barriers such as lack of awareness is
to continue education efforts and ensure that resources are
available to train staff.
Data Governance Prioritized
Though the rates of IG adoption were lower than IG advocates
would like, a bright spot illuminated in the most recent IG
survey is the progress demonstrated by adoption rates and
understanding of data governance. While the survey found
that 30 percent of respondents affirmed data governance
has been formalized in their organizations, data governance
was the highest-rated IG priority in organizations with formalized IG programs. What’s more, respondents displayed a
high degree of comfort with data governance projects, and
data governance was the highest expected benefit of having
a good IG program.
This wasn’t surprising for Fahy, who says data governance
is a priority because organizations are struggling with data
quality in areas such as their master patient index and metadata management.
“Some organizations already have some form of data governance going on so they are tackling IG by starting with the
roots of information, data, and repurposing current data governance programs so that they align with the IG program. If
SunCoast RHIO Sets the Bar for IG Adoption
LOUIS GALTERIO, MBA, HIMSS Fellow, CPHIMS, founder and president of SunCoast RHIO, knows firsthand the benefits
of implementing a robust IG program. His organization, a regional health information organization (RHIO) actively exchanging patient information, was the first to obtain an Information Governance Adoption Model (IGAM)TM Level 4 award
from AHIMA, a designation that he believes will function as a competitive advantage for healthcare organizations looking
to join a RHIO.
“IG touches every aspect of our organization. But overall it makes me feel much more confident that I’m meeting and
am consistent with regulatory requirements,” Galterio says.
RHIOs must comply with regulations set by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the Department of
Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.
“We also report quality measures, so data integrity is very important for us. When doctors want to report their qual-
ity data, they can do it through their EHR (electronic health record systems) or send us the data,” Galterio says. “It got
me thinking in a more structured way and about the overall process, and that was extremely good for us. Now it’s much
easier to have everything managed in one place. I have one place to go for all my policies. It helps me think about things
I didn’t think about before.”
In working with his RHIO clients, Galterio says many organizations are working on IG-like programs, especially as
healthcare mergers add complexity to harmonizing EHRs and master patient index data.
“Hospitals have been doing this, but they didn’t really have the structure of an IG committee to bring it all together,”
Galterio says, referencing AHIMA’s recommendation that IG works best when interdepartmental committees collaborate
and work together. “There’s a catalyst with the IGAM with AHIMA that makes people think about it.”