Fall 2016 Newsletter ♦ Asset Management: Data – The New Liquid Gold

A Data Governance Meetup Summary

By Sherri Douville

If you ask most health executives, they will tell you that they want their people to have access to timely and useful data for both clinical and customer experience purposes. HIMSS NorCal set out to identify what challenges have to be overcome to deliver on the promise of liquid gold, that data access. It turns out that for data to be meaningful, there has to be continual governance built around it. In this post, we aim to provide a useful talking point for you and your stakeholders to frame and set goals for your data management strategy. 

On July 14, Informatica hosted our data governance meetup. Senior Director for Solutions Marketing, Jakki Geiger, opened the discussion with an introduction to the need for data governance to manage the exploding volumes of data facing most successful organizations. Greiger shared the four stages of data governance as discovering, defining, applying and measuring data as shown clockwise below. We thought this slide would be a good talking point for a discussion with your peers.

Terri Mikol, Director of Data Governance at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center (UPMC), then gave the keynote for the evening. The audience understood from Mikol’s lecture that data is an asset to be managed like any other, similar to a financial asset. Not only is the data itself an asset, but also so is employees’ time, which is wasted when data is not accessible in a usable and timely way.

Got Data? UPMC Serves as a Role Model to Nike

Mikol has pioneered a data governance program that is in its fourth year at UPMC and has been adopted cross industry and cross-country (Nike). Mikol has coached multiple health and non health-related organizations on managing their data governance programs. UPMC wrestled initially with the following:

  • 1200 applications
  • 3 unique EMR’s
  • Never will be done integrating data
  • 20 year history of Business Intelligence

Precision Medicine Drove the UPMC Data Governance Initiative

Four years ago, Precision Medicine triggered the need for a data governance program and was driven by the UPMC Board of Directors for optimal asset management.

According to Mikol, “Everyone that works in healthcare needs to be able to work with data, not just IT and Informatics.”

Data analytics is considered a core competency and requirement for every employee at UPMC. They use Informatica to reconcile the patient problem list, three EMR’s that are used to deliver a cohesive view of the same patient. Some tips for success that Terri shared to deliver on a successful program are:

  • Information owners should own the data system wide.
  • Data stewards from home health, physician offices, etc. should write the definition of common and local items since they own it.
  • For an application, the data governance office should define standardized testing and annual policies for data quality and meta data, ensure their usage, and tag all reports to verify adherence.
  • UPMC employs master data management.
  • The data steward should be mapped to every source or system.
  • Use a council layout to hear problems and generate resulting policies.

Mikol shared simple data quality suggestions such as making sure fake people, which are used for training purposes, are labeled. For example, UPMC has established a hotline for categorizing fake people. Everything about their data governance program has been to drive clarity and commonality. The most important structural foundation is to make sure the council or steering committee comprises some Directors, mostly VP’s, and C level members of the organization such as the CISO, COO, and CIO. Mikol emphasized that data governance is not just an “IT Project”.

If you need help, UPMC lends Mikol out for consulting to help your team get started or take your program to the next level.  Contact HIMSS Board Member and Meetup and Programs Chair Jason Johnson (jjohnsonhimss@gmail.com) to get in touch with Mikol.

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