Data governance is the practice of creating standardized processes on how data is entered into a system. Healthcare organizations employ data governance to control how data assets are managed and ensure that data is able to be used for your intended purposes.

As data systems become more complex in healthcare organizations, the way data is generated and managed must also come under scrutiny.

Let’s look at three best practices healthcare organizations can employ in creating and maintaining a data governance strategy.

3 Best Practices for Data Governance in Healthcare

Before we get into the specifics, it’s worth mentioning that data governance shouldn’t be confused with Master Data Management or anything to do with your database design. Rather, it’s a systematized management process that encompasses the availability, security, usability, and integrity of your data.

With this mind, consider the following best practices when creating or improving your healthcare data governance strategy:

Consider the Long-Term Picture

What should your ultimate data governance goal look like? What’s the purpose of creating a strategy in the first place? How will the data ultimately be used, and by whom?

Answering these questions can help you create a big picture framework that you can ultimately break down into smaller, bite-sized goals to get there.

Once you define your end goals and understand what needs to happen, you can work backward to determine what you need to do and who you need to partner with to implement your strategy.

Start Small

One of the biggest mistakes most healthcare organizations make is trying to scale their data governance too quickly. While you may have an end result in mind,  you must consider the individual steps and processes that will help you achieve the end results.

Start small by creating scalable, repeatable actions and build up from there. Find out what data is critical to your governance strategy and how implementing the data processes will affect your users. For best results, you should try to tailor your processes to the people, not the other way around.

From there, it’s all about creating the right processes to bring you to your goal, then sourcing the right technology and solutions to carry out those processes.

Set Benchmarks and Usable Metrics

Once you implement a data governance strategy, how can you be sure it’s working? How will you know if you crafted the right strategy to give you the desired results?

It’s important that your processes not only function appropriately but can also be measured. Every step of your strategy should be supported with data. Track your progress on a consistent basis to ensure goals and processes remain aligned. If they don’t, you’ll need to intervene to make adjustments or improvements to get back on track.

Healthcare Data Governance Is a Practice, Not a Project

Data governance isn’t a task on your project list, but rather an ongoing practice. There is no start or end date. As technologies change within your organization and new data becomes collected, it’s important to ensure your data governance strategy also evolves to ensure ongoing usability.

Your work may never be finished, but that’s because there’s also an unending supply of data to maintain. Continue to improve your processes so your data can continue meeting your needs for as long as you need it to.