Where Data Goes – Governance Must Follow
By Lisa Loftis, SAS Best Practices

As the health care industry moves increasingly toward customer and patient experience management, analytically driven decisions, and growing regulatory commitments, one underlying item will dictate the difference between success and failure; data. And where data goes – governance must follow. Otherwise, quality degrades, silos proliferate, data consolidation and preparation explodes and chaos reigns. A large integrated provider-insurer once told me, “We are the largest user of disk storage in the world”. This was a dubious distinction at best. One that forced them to launch a robust data governance program.    

In their book Customer Data Integration, Jill Dyché and Evan Levy coined what I consider to be the gold standard definition for data governance: “the organizing framework for establishing strategy, objectives, and policies for corporate data.” Data governance programs that follow the tenants set out in this definition will establish business stakeholders as information owners and position enterprise data issues as cross-functional – both of which are critical to resolve data oriented problems.  

Equally important is data management, the operational complement to data governance. Data management teams develop and implement the detailed block and tackle processes needed to carry out governance defined corporate data policies. Primary focus areas typically include data discovery, metadata management, data quality and data architecture –all critical to any data intensive initiative such as patient experience or regulatory compliance. 

While there are many ways to start when designing and implementing data governance, making the program sustainable over time requires several critical steps. First, you need to adopt a governance framework that allows the program to be implemented and expanded incrementally while clearly highlighting all the components that will be in place when the program expansion is complete. Second, a nucleus of executives representing both business and IT must be in place to provide funding, resources, assist in prioritizing governance initiatives and ensure that the governance goals correspond to overall corporate objectives. And last, you must have an unambiguous set of roles, responsibilities and processes defined for the care and feeding of the data under governance.  

Lisa Loftis is a thought leader on the SAS Best Practices team, where she focuses on customer intelligence, customer experience management, and digital marketing. She is co-author of the book, Building the Customer Centric Enterprise. She can be reached at Lisa.Loftis@sas.comhttps://twitter.com/lisamloftis

Join Lisa for Back to Basics – Sustainable Data Governance in the Modern World of Health Care at the MaHIMA Annual Conference!