With the vast amount of data your organization produces daily, properly caring for this data is critical when implementing information-based care. Data Stewardship is a sub domain, a discipline if you will, within information governance that is predicated on ensuring the accessibility of data assets. In short, successful Data Stewardship will prevent your organization from being data-rich, but information-poor.

So how can hospital leaders use Data Stewardship to fuel a culture of information governance compliance?

The key link in this system is the data steward who is responsible for a system or type of data within the organization. They are the expert on the data type or system they oversee, but on top of that they have to provide appropriate access levels and maintain the quality and longevity of data within that system. Even in the best-case scenario, a data steward is wearing a lot of hats.

With one person having multiple roles, an effective Data Stewardship plan must be implemented to effectively leverage the resources of your organization to affect meaningful change and consistent compliance. What must be considered, in terms of Data Stewardship, so that there is an integrated coherence between information governance and the organization at large?

Consider the role

A data steward will act as a bridge between the information governance panel and the business unit to which they report. In working with the information governance unit, they will evaluate processes, identify issues, and make decisions about the direction of the organization. On top of this, an effective data steward will advocate for information governance topics within the organization. Often these high-level discussions do not resonate with the workforce at large. In this case it is up to the data steward to discuss why these topics are important to the direction of the organization.

Effective management of resources

Maintaining the quality and longevity of data is just the beginning of effective data stewardship. Another major consideration is how resources are shared across an organization. Providing high-quality data that is easily and consistently accessible is the goal. Understanding the dynamics between the end user and the policies and goals set by information governance keep the information flowing in a useful, consistent way.

Data security and controls

On top of ensuring the fidelity of data collected within an organization, effective data stewardship revolves around properly securing the data and implementing engineering controls for access. Data security, under the umbrella of information governance, is critical to protecting the organization from liability issues stemming from HIPAA violations. This means effective data stewardship requires implementing a variety of safeguards to protect the data and minimize the risks to the organization.