IG: It's a Marathon, not a Sprint

By Melanie Endicott

Developing an information governance (IG) program within your organization takes time and planning. Just like marathon runners who follow a training plan that begins with short runs and gradually builds to longer distances, so too should organizations start with small steps toward the larger infrastructure of IG.

As Linda Kloss points out in her book Implementing Health Information Governance: Lessons from the Field, there are various models for leading large-scale changes, such as implementation of IG, but they all have some commonalities:

  • A catalyst for change: There must be a reason, or reasons, for the implementation of IG. Just as runners may decide to tackle a marathon for the health benefits, healthcare organizations may see some opportunities to improve various business operations with the institution of an IG program.
  • A guiding coalition: Support from the executive team and other key stakeholders to ensure that the IG initiative moves forward is essential. There should be a multidisciplinary committee that drives the planning and execution of IG. The makeup of the committee may change over time depending on the specific project that is being focused on.
  • The compelling case for change: To have a successful IG program, a compelling case for the new program must be presented to executive leadership and all key stakeholders. Consider the consequences of not instituting IG. Is that enough of an argument for instituting IG at your organization? What about a data breach or lost revenue?
  • Achieving short-term wins: In a marathon, it takes many months of dedicated training to make it to the starting line and eventually to the finish line. The same is true with an IG program. Think about key milestones along the way and break the large project of IG into smaller, more manageable and attainable pieces.
  • Building a track record of success – Pacing is essential to running a marathon, just as it is in implementing IG for your organization. If you move too quickly and make too many changes at once, you may lose buy-in from stakeholders and make mistakes. Change is slow and often painful, but keeping that end goal in mind and employing effective change management strategies along the way will get you to the finish line.

Now we’d like to hear from you! What was your compelling case for deciding to implement an IG program? What key successes has your organization had along the road to IG implementation?

Melanie Endicott, MBA/HCM, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCS-P, FAHIMA, is senior director of HIM practice excellence, coding and CDI products development at AHIMA. She has over 15 years experience in HIM and coding, with her most recent focus being in ICD-10-CM/PCS, and has presented numerous times at the regional, state, and national levels on HIM and coding topics. She was previously a director of HIM practice excellence, focusing on coding products, resources, and education, at AHIMA. Melanie is an AHIMA-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer and an ICD-10 Ambassador.

Article citation:
Endicott, Melanie. "IG: It's a Marathon, not a Sprint" CodeWrite (January 28, 2016).