Atrium Health, Chief Data & Digital Officer: Effective Data Governance Solves Data Complexity and Quality Issues

Atrium Health, Chief Data & Digital Officer: Effective Data Governance Solves Data Complexity and Quality Issues

(US and Canada) Omer Awan, Chief Data and Digital Officer at Atrium Health, speaks with David Mariani, CTO, AtScale, about advising fellow analytics leaders on building effective data strategies, dealing with complexities related to data, the mechanism to follow when data accuracy is in question, data privacy, and the importance of maintaining data safety.

Speaking about organizational data strategies, Awan advises leaders to understand the overall organizational data strategy, which comprises several other strategies. These strategies need to be in one place and driven individually for optimum impact, he adds.

Explaining further, Awan states that well-defined business intelligence, analytics, infrastructure, and governance strategies form the enterprise data strategy.

According to Awan, it is important to adhere to a data framework that measures and guides the strategies. One of the models followed in healthcare is the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) adoption model for analytics maturity. The model helps measure and display the organization’s level and what needs to be done to reach the next advanced level.

Awan asserts that an effective data governance program is the key to addressing and resolving the complexity and quality issues concerning data. He stresses that data governance programs have work streams, including master and metadata management, data policies, data domains, and data quality.

When addressing data quality, Awan ensures that good data governance rectifies data issues at the initial stage of the data life cycle while maintaining appropriate transparency. At Atrium, the data governance quality works team looks at data quality across several dimensions, and data accuracy in particular, says Awan. 

As he pinpoints a data accuracy problem, he moves to have the right policies, KPI(s), and metrics in place. Awan indicates that information governors work in various domains across the enterprise and play the role of data stewards to ensure data is correct. 

When it comes to data privacy, Awan adds that patients expect them to keep the data safe. Simultaneously, as a healthcare organization, Atrium is responsible for deriving the best insights from data to elevate the patient experience.

He recalls a time in data analytics when many companies offered great solutions. However, when carrying out security scans, the data seemed to have safety issues. Now, with robust data governance, all data-related decisions pass through a standard process.

Awan acknowledges that confirming if the data is safe is an endless journey. He continues that companies can excel at it by working with anonymous data. In the current healthcare scenario, he indicates that most companies come forward to provide high-end solutions without garnering PHI insights, deeming it unnecessary. At Atrium, Awan affirms that maintaining data safety is a rigorous process and requires a team effort.

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