Ed Marx outlines key elements of HIT governance policy

Ed Marx, chief information officer of Texas Health Resources, compares the need to develop your own governance model to cultural differences--it has to work for your own organizational culture.

"What's the silver bullet for governance? There is no silver bullet for governance," Marx told those attending the recent Health IT Summit in Houston, according to an article at Healthcare Informatics.

Some of the core principles for leading healthcare systems in times of rapid change Marx outlined include:

  • Transparency
  • Boldness
  • Trust
  • Accountability
  • Excellence
  • Alignment
  • Escalation

Everything a CIO does has to be open and transparent to all stakeholders, he said, and you must be "bold in your principles. It's better to be blunt and upfront in your 'no' than to encourage all sorts of passive-aggressive behavior. Passive-aggressive behaviors kill governance."

Developing co-chairs only magnifies the effectiveness of governance, he said.

For escalation, he says it's important to develop paths for individuals or groups dissatisfied with a process taking place to "escalate" their disagreement to higher levels of authority--all the way to the CEO. Only once during his seven-year tenure has an employee taken a complaint that far, he said, though it's vital to have those channels available.

One of the reasons healthcare lags other sectors in IT, he says, is that CIOs have been reluctant to lead. Now it's "time to 'cowboy up,' as they say in Texas, and lead," he adds.

Governance is key to a robust health IT system, Dick Taylor, managing director and chief medical officer of the advisory services division of consulting firm MedSys Group, says in a piece at InformationWeek. Governance allows "organizations to rationalize IT spending, achieve unprecedented automation, and use critical data to drive the organization," he says.

Meanwhile, the American Health Information Management Association has been on a big push to promote healthcare information governance. In October, it released a governance framework stressing issues such as accountability, transparency, data integrity, security and compliance.

To learn more:
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