1 WHITE PAPER Governing the Electronic Health Record Crossing Traditional Boundaries of Healthcare Governance
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3 Preface It is my sincere pleasure to broadly share this paper, published under COACH and our collective EHR Governance Community of Interest (COI). Providing a valuable EHR Governance framework that we all need to understand and adopt, this document builds our knowledge and capacity and our collective discourse on this important topic. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I extend warm appreciation to the COI members for this excellent contribution to the health informatics community. In particular, I would like to recognize primary authors: Susan Anderson - BSc, CPHIMS, CPHIMS-CA Bonnie Cochrane - RN, MSc Nancy Gabor - MSc. Health Informatics, PMP, Prosci, CPHIMS Tannis McBean - BScN, Dipl. HCA, MSc Gavin Tong - MBA, CPHIMS-CA The COI will continue to meet regularly based on the members shared interest in fostering the exchange and discussion of approaches, experiences and advice related to EHR Governance. The COI work to date and this EHR Governance White Paper have set the stage for the future, which includes further research and dialogue to support the evolution of EHR Governance. Don Newsham, BSc, BAdmin, CPHIMS-CA Chief Executive Officer COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association
4 Contents Introduction / 5 Background / 6 Methodology / 7 Key Findings / 8 A Note on Standard Tools and Templates / 13 Recommended EHR Governance Framework / 14 Conclusion / 15 4 GOVERNANCE OF EHR COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association
5 Governing the Electronic Health Record Crossing Traditional Boundaries of Healthcare Governance Introduction Governing boards of healthcare organizations in Canada are ultimately responsible for the performance of their organizations. Beyond financial performance, increasingly Boards, in partnership with their organizations leadership, are challenged to improve performance in clinical quality and safety. Evidence suggests more effective governance is associated with higher quality of care. Increased information, available through numerous ehealth systems, including the Electronic Health Record (EHR), is currently and will increasingly be required to support and inform important decision making related to patient care and health system management thereby improving efficiency, effectiveness and quality of care delivery. The EHR is defined as a complete health record under the custodianship of a healthcare provider(s) that holds relevant health information about a person over their lifetime. This is often described as a person-centric health record, which can be used by many approved healthcare providers or healthcare organizations. The EHR works to enable access to key aspects of a person s health information where and when it is required by appropriate healthcare providers at the point of care (Figure 1). As the EHR enables access to key information in disparate locations, its oversight can challenge the traditional boundaries of jurisdictional governance. This white paper explores various aspects, opportunities and challenges in EHR Governance processes and structures. Figure 1: Health Continuum of Care Serving the Client/Patient Source: Canada Health Infoway; Blueprint (2006) COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association GOVERNANCE OF EHR 5
6 Background In 2010, the Program Committee for the Canadian ehealth 2011 Conference identified EHR Governance as an emerging hot topic which was accepted for a pre-conference workshop. The program for the workshop was developed and delivered by Dr. Peter Rossos (Chief Medical Information Officer, University Health Network, Ontario), Joan Roch (Chief Privacy Strategist, Canada Health Infoway), Susan Anderson (Assistant Deputy Minister for Health InformationTechnology and Systems Division and CIO for Alberta Health) and Bonnie Cochrane (VP, Clinical Information Programs and Quality, Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Health Information). Based on the high level of interest at both the pre-conference workshop and EHR Governance-related ehealth 2011 conference program sessions, an informal Pan Canadian EHR Governance Network emerged. Twenty participants from across Canada joined together in this network, which was designed to discuss various aspects of EHR Governance, and to share best practices and lessons learned through monthly teleconferences. After a year of valuable dialogue and knowledge exchange, it was recognized that a stable infrastructure would be beneficial to support the generative output of the Network s efforts. COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association was approached to determine if there was alignment of these efforts with their new Community of Interest structure. Subsequently, the Pan Canadian Governance Network was transitioned into the COACH organization, becoming the EHR Governance Community of Interest (EHR COI), the inaugural COI for COACH. 6 GOVERNANCE OF EHR COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association
7 Besides ongoing discussions among COI members, several guest speakers contributed to and enriched the community s discussions which largely focused on lessons learned and established best practices. A working group structure was formed, to further collect, review and analyze materials beneficial to the efforts of the full COI. The results of that work have been encapsulated in this paper which focuses on the composite findings of those working groups, and provides key findings to further advance the thinking and discussion on EHR governance. Methodology From the larger EHR COI membership, two working groups were formed in the fall of An Environmental Scan Working Group with a mandate to review documents, journals, and websites, as well as learn from EHR COI members with the goal of collating available EHR Governance best practices and lessons learned, and A Toolkit Working Group with a mandate to define an overall framework for EHR Governance and to develop a supporting governance toolkit. An early assessment of governance models was undertaken and it was determined by the EHR COI that based upon fit, it would utilize key principles from COBIT 5 as applicable. COBIT 5, also known as Control Objectives for Information & Related Technology, Version 5, is essentially a framework for describing the end-to-end business view of the governance of enterprise information technology. An IT industry standard, the COBIT framework reflects the central role of information and technology in creating value for enterprises. The use of a standard governance model framework and the consolidated output of the two working groups served to inform the EHR COI members in preparation of this paper; all documentation is stored in a shared folder managed by COACH. COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association GOVERNANCE OF EHR 7
8 Key Findings Key findings and the essence of this paper covers six principal themes of EHR Governance: A working definition of EHR Governance, Applying a standard governance framework (COBIT 5), Understanding governance versus management, Taking a longitudinal view, Developing an accountability framework, and Focusing on future innovations and public access needs. Definition of EHR Governance During its deliberations, the EHR COI worked to focus the discussion on EHR Governance, and exclude the broader area of ehealth Governance. The following working definition was identified and adopted with content extrapolated from various literature sources and EHR COI members input: Governance of the EHR consists of leadership and organizational structures and processes to ensure that the strategic direction, goals and objectives of the EHR are met. Governance of the EHR will ensure that investments in the EHR will generate the required business and clinical value and that any risks will be mitigated. Governance of the EHR is supported by organizational capacity to oversee, direct and guide the design, development, implementation and operation of the EHR. 8 GOVERNANCE OF EHR COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association
9 Governance of the EHR involves determination of who makes decisions, who has input into a decision and accountabilities for those decisions. Governance of the EHR includes membership with decision rights and accountabilities to enable effective use of the EHR. For further context, clarity and completeness of the definition, the EHR COI referenced the COBIT 5 Domains of Governance concept, applying these domains to frame its discussion and analysis to ensure a thorough and comprehensive view of best practices and challenges. These domains, which are well reflected in the above working definition, include strategic alignment, value delivery, risk management, resource management and performance measurement (Figure 2). Application of a Standard Governance Framework to EHR Governance Building on the assessment of COBIT 5 as an overall good fit model, the EHR COI determined that the use of COBIT 5, within the context of the EHR, is to provide management and business process owners with an IT governance model that can be applied to the EHR that helps in delivering value from EHR-related investments and supports the understanding and managing of the risks associated with the EHR and its underlying IT. Figure 2: COBIT 5 IT Governance Domains Source: COBIT ISACA. All rights reserved. Used by permission. COBIT 5 brings value to any organization seeking guidance on assessing and potentially improving IT and EHR governance. COBIT 5 also helps bridge the gaps amongst business requirements, control needs and technical issues. In the view of the EHR COI, COBIT is a suitable control model to meet the needs of IT in the context of EHR Governance and ensure that information systems deliver value. As with any tool, COBIT 5 should be used to support a means to an end. EHR Governance Framework Understanding Governance vs. Management Confusion is prevalent today regarding roles, authority and accountabilities of governance of the EHR, as compared to management and operations of the EHR. Some jurisdictions include fiduciary accountability and authority as part of EHR governance; with others, fiduciary responsibility is separate and distinct. The governance framework from COBIT 5 as shown (Figure 3) was used by the EHR COI to make the following comparison: COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association GOVERNANCE OF EHR 9
10 Governance ensures that enterprise objectives are achieved by evaluating stakeholder needs, conditions and options; setting direction through prioritisation and decision making; and monitoring performance, compliance and progress against agreedon direction and objectives, Management plans, builds, runs and monitors activities in alignment with the direction set by the governance body to achieve the enterprise objectives, There is a reporting relationship between the governance and management levels, and Throughout the Governance and Management levels, enabling two-way communications, and seeking advice from appropriate stakeholders is a cornerstone of success. Figure 3: COBIT 5 Governance Framework Source: Optimising Value Creation From IT Investments 2005 IT Governance Institute. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Applying Longitudinal EHR Governance From EHR Investment (Project) to Sustained Operations (Program) Initial EHR governance structures are frequently established with a primary focus on governing large-scale investment projects. Similarly the governance decision making processes, and the people selected to participate in the various governance bodies, are focused on launching the projects and seeing them through to completion. However, this leads to several challenges when projects conclude and need to transition to ongoing operations as shown on page 11 (Figure 4): Anecdotal observations to date suggest that instead of transitioning scope and focus to operational activities, additional governance and management bodies are added within the existing project governance structure to cover operations. This leads to an increased number of governance and management bodies, and increased complexity in lines of accountability, 10 GOVERNANCE OF EHR COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association
11 Resistance to change can come from several sources, including individuals, where there may be a reluctance to change governance focus due to personality types, personal interests, and functional roles within the organization or across organizations, and The complexity is heightened during the transition period when some components of the EHR are operational and other components are still in development as part of the overall project. In this situation, the operational components may need to further evolve in order to optimally support the needs of dependent projects. This often exposes conflicts in the different governance bodies priorities and decision making processes. Emerging best practices identify governance very early in the life of a project in a longitudinal manner, optimizing participation of those to whom the project will transition once operational. Working toward as seamless as possible a transition should be the goal. In at least one Canadian jurisdiction in Canada, EHR Governance Committees oversee EHR development from early project planning phase fully through to sustained operational state. EHR Investment Strategy/Vision Prioritizing EHR investments Strategic oversight of the jurisdictional EHR blueprint or roadmap Sets direction, accountability and performance targets Planning of: Investment forecasts EHR Blueprints Planning of: Technology Data EHR Roadmaps Business plans Monitoring of: Programs/Projects Changes to strategic plans/blueprints/roadmaps Program/Project Implementation of components of the jurisdictional EHR blueprint or roadmap Services (Business and Technical) Standards Monitoring of: Adoption levels Benefits Operations Support for the steady state and incremental changes to technology and services Planning of: Release/Change management processes and timelines Operational plans Business continuity plans Monitoring of: Service levels Initial governance focus is on EHR investments and design/build Over time, governance focus shifts to operations of the systems and uses of EHR data Figure 4: Longitudinal view of EHR Governance from project through sustained operational program Source: COACH EHR Governance COI. Ultimately from the EHR investment strategy and vision through to operations, the technologies being built and managed/governed are there to provide enhanced information to support optimization of patient care and health system management. Governance has a constant focus on optimizing availability and use of the integrated data for knowledge translation; the consequences of improved healthcare delivery and health system use is important to realizing the initial and ongoing benefits of the EHR investment. COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association GOVERNANCE OF EHR 11
12 Development of an EHR Governance Accountability Framework While EHR Governance structures and processes have been put in place, the complexity of the EHR requires constant and extensive stakeholder involvement to support governance of the EHR component systems and the information contained within. From infrastructure, privacy and security, data quality and standards, to project and operational program staff, there is an identified need to develop an EHR systems accountability framework. A framework, considered for instance a best practice from Newfoundland & Labrador, reports on and supports key aspects of the Governance model domains (see COBIT 5) of strategic alignment, value delivery, risk management, resource management and performance measurement. That framework also supports a continuous quality improvement approach. In the view of the EHR COI, an EHR Component Accountability Framework includes and reports on the following key indicators and issues: System performance, Information protection, Agreements and contracts, Stakeholder relations, Data quality, and Adoption and information use. Focusing on Consideration for Future Innovations Governing to enable Public Access and Use Patients want two things from a healthcare system - care and information. Care can come in many forms and historically healthcare systems have focused on providing effective and appropriate care. Information, on the other hand, has been poorly disseminated not only to providers, but to other stakeholders including patients. What is needed in Canada is a healthcare system that provides coordinated care based on integrated information. 1 There is emerging strategic engagement with the Canadian public, as the consumer, to access their online EHR in support of retrieving personal health information. In a soon-to-be published national survey of Canadians interest in consumer health commissioned by Canada Health Infoway, findings show that 22% of Canadians are aware of consumer health tools in their province, 15% have access to at least one type of tool and 10% have used at least one tool. 2 1 Leonard KJ. Casselman M. Wiljer D. Who will demand access to their personal health record: A focus on the users of health services and what they want. Healthcare Q. 2008:11(1):92-6) 2 Communication to the Authors by Dr. Jennifer Zelmer, Executive Vice-President, Canada Health Infoway 12 GOVERNANCE OF EHR COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association
13 Many jurisdictions across Canada already have active consumer health solutions. For example, Alberta has had an online presence over the last two years for Albertans through the provincial patient portal, MyHealth.Alberta.ca (MHA). As work continues to expand services for public consumption, formally engaging with the public within the context of EHR Governance was recognized as having significant value in prioritizing the future direction. A Public Advisory Group was formed in 2013, with recruitment of members of the public and initial meetings beginning in the spring. Responsibilities of the Public Advisory Group include providing input on the MHA portal as follows: Strategy, planning, design and implementation, Features, functions to be incorporated, Design of specific functions, Improving existing utility, and Increasing existing use. Adapting EHR governance methods, structures and practices to fit the evolving and innovative delivery of healthcare and the associated public and provider use of EHR technologies will be a necessary and focused action as such technologies and associated processes are implemented and broadly adopted. A Note on Standard Tools and Templates EHR Governance in every jurisdiction involves numerous committees and member participants. The EHR COI collected committee terms of reference and membership competency profiles from various domestic and international jurisdictions in order to contrast and compare functions of various governance processes and structures. These documents have been archived for ongoing use of EHR COI members; examples of just a few of these documents are listed below: Canada Health Infoway s White Paper on Information Governance, Alberta s Provincial Health System IM/IT Governance Model, Board Briefing on IT Governance, by the IT Governance Institute, EHR Impact Study Report of the European Commission, and The NHS Brain (Benefits Realization & Achievement International Network) Report. COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association GOVERNANCE OF EHR 13
14 Recommended EHR Governance Framework EHR Governance is an important and evolving consideration when undertaking implementation of jurisdictional level EHRs. This essential topic requires collaboration and decision making that crosses traditional health system governance borders. Based upon the work of the COACH EHR Governance COI, the following elements are emerging as key components of an EHR Governance Framework to support optimal EHR benefits realization and risk mitigation/management: A shared definition of the entity to be governed, in this case the EHR, Application of a proven governance model, in this case COBIT 5, Implementation of a formalized EHR governance structure, with defined roles and responsibilities to support governance and management, and enabled engagement with multiple stakeholders who also serve as advisors, A strong focus on longitudinal EHR governance, from early project governance through to sustained program operation, Implementation of an EHR Governance Accountability Framework, with a focus on continuous quality improvement, and A diligent, ongoing focus on future needs that will require additional EHR governance adaptation, such as public access to their EHR via patient portals. 14 GOVERNANCE OF EHR COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association
15 Conclusion The COACH EHR Governance COI has embarked on significant exploration of frameworks, concepts and approaches in EHR governance. There is a widely shared interest and significant investment in EHR solutions that require new and advanced governance structures and processes. Following an in-depth investigation and comparison of governance models, the EHR COI arrived at an EHR Governance Framework as based principally on COBIT 5. Not intended to be prescriptive in nature, this work serves to advance the thinking and direction for others working to govern EHRs in a comprehensive manner, maximizing benefits and minimizing risks. The COACH EHR Governance Community of Interest continues to meet regularly based on the shared interests and objectives of its members towards fostering the exchange and discussion of approaches, experiences and advice related to EHR Governance. The purpose of the EHR COI, to connect communities sharing this common interest and need; to discuss issues and propose solutions; to share best practices; to promote COACH; and to promote EHR Governance as an emerging topic of importance, is being realized. This White Paper and the EHR COI work to date has set the stage for the future, which includes feedback on the Paper and continued research and dialogue to further understand and support the evolution of EHR Governance. COACH: Canada s Health Informatics Association GOVERNANCE OF EHR 15
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