Data is longest lasting asset in any org--here's how to govern it

One health IT leader says he thinks data is the longest lasting asset in any organization--outlasting facilities, devices and people.

In a post on, Dale Sanders (pictured), Senior Technology Advisor and CIO Mentor for the National Health Services Authority in the Cayman Islands, outlines his seven simple practices of data governance.

"If we accept the assertion that healthcare is a knowledge delivery industry, it is our obligation to exploit the data assets in our environment to augment and optimize that knowledge," Sanders writes. Some of his tips for data governance include:

  • Balanced, Lean Governance:We should govern data to "the least extent necessary to achieve the greatest common good," Sanders says. Too often, he adds, organizations over-apply data governance.
  • Data Quality: This, according to Sanders, is the most important function of data governance. "Simply defined, Data Quality = Completeness of Data x Validity of Data x Timeliness of Data," he says.
  • Data Access: Sanders says data governance and information security committees should be combined to balance tension internally.
  • Master Data Management: Data should be bound into "analytic algorithms that should be consistently used throughout the organization, such as calculating length of stay, defining readmission criteria, defining patient cohorts, and attributing patients to providers in accountable care arrangements," Sanders says.

At the Government Health IT Conference & Exhibition in Washington, D.C., in June, Chad Grant--a senior policy analyst with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers--called state level governance efforts for storing and exchanging citizen data--including health information--are "shaky at best," Grant was touting the results of a collaborative study published this by NASCIO and HIMSS on the health IT landscape in the states. Overall, 80 percent of responding state CIOs said they had no data governance structure in place at all.

That same month, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT unveiled a framework for HIE governance it said would provide a "common foundation" for all types of HIE governance models.

To learn more:
- read Sanders' full post

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