10 Insights From The Road To Data Governance

10 Insights From The Road To Data Governance
10 Insights From The Road To Data Governance
I routinely have the pleasure of working with Terri Mikol, Director of Data Governance, UPMC. Terri has been spearheading data governance for three years at UPMC. As a result, she has a wealth of insights to offer on this hot topic. Enjoy her top 10 lessons learned from UPMC’s data governance journey:

1. You already have data stewards.

Commonly, health systems think they can’t staff data governance such as UPMC has becauseof a lack of funding. In reality, people are already doing data governance everywhere, across your organization! You don’t have to secure headcount; you locate these people within the business, formalize data governance as part of their job, and provide them tools to improve and manage their efforts.

2. Multiple types of data stewards ensure all governance needs are being met.

Three types of data stewards were identified and tasked across the enterprise:

I. Data Steward. Create and maintain data/business definitions. Assist with defining data and mappings along with rule definition and data integrity improvement.

II. Application Steward. One steward is named per application sourcing enterprise analytics. Populate and maintain inventory, assist with data definition and prioritize data integrity issues.

III. Analytics Steward. Named for each team providing analytics. Populate and maintain inventory, reduce duplication and define rules and self-service guidelines.

3. Establish IT as an enabler.

IT, instead of taking action on data governance or being the data governor, has become anenabler of data governance by investing in and administering tools that support metadata definition and master data management.

4. Form a governance council.

UPMC formed a governance council of 29 executives—yes, that’s a big number but UPMC is a big organization. The council is clinically led. It is co-chaired by two CMIOs and includes Marketing, Strategic Planning, Finance, Human Resources, the Health Plan, and Research. The council signs off on and prioritizes policies. Decision-making must be provided from somewhere.

5. Avoid slowing progress with process.

In these still-early days, only 15 minutes of monthly council meetings are spent on policy and guidelines; discussion and direction take priority. For example, a recent agenda item was “Length of Stay.” The council agreed a single owner would coordinate across Finance, Quality and Care Management to define and document an enterprise definition for “Length of Stay.”

6. Use examples.

Struggling to get buy-in from the business about the importance of data governance? An example everyone can relate to is “Test Patient.” For years, in her business intelligence role, Terri worked with “Test Patient.” Investigation revealed that these fake patients end up in places they should not. There was no standard for creation or removal of test patients, which meant that test patients and their costs, outcomes, etc., were included in analysis and reporting that drove decisions inside and external to UPMC. The governance program created a policy for testing in production should the need arise.

7. Make governance personal through marketing.

Terri holds monthly round tables with business and clinical constituents. These have been a game changer: Once a month, for two hours, ten business invitees meet and talk about the program. Each attendee shares a data challenge, and Terri educates them on the program and illustrates how the program will address each challenge.

8. Deliver self-service.

Providing self-service empowers your users to gain access and control to the data they need to improve their processes. The only way to deliver self-service business intelligence is to make metadata, master data, and data quality transparent and accessible across the enterprise.

9. IT can’t do it alone.

Initially, IT was resistant to giving up control, but now the team understands that it doesn’t have the knowledge or the time to effectively do data governance alone.

10. Don’t quit!

Governance can be complicated, and it may seem like little progress is being made. Terri keeps spirits high by reminding folks that the only failure is quitting.

Getting started? Assess the data governance maturity of your organization here: http://governyourdata.com/

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