Posted by Michael Morrison on January 18, 2016

As big data becomes a more central aspect of corporate strategy, many firms might be missing some of the more important steps toward optimal information governance in their backend systems and everyday operations. When governance comes off the rails due to an advanced analytics project or any other reason, the chances of maintaining tight control of information and privacy while simultaneously enjoying high returns on big data investments will be inherently lower.

Organizations must take steps to ensure that they are keeping up with the best practices of information governance in the broad sense, and then tailoring their initiatives, policies and strategies to adapt to the world of advanced analytics in stride. With the right services and solutions from reliable providers of data preparation, analytics and governance technologies, firms in every industry will be better positioned to excel in the intelligence arena while mitigating threats more proactively.

Health care’s pain points
One of the best industries to look at for guidance on the balance between general information governance and strong analytics performance is health care, as the rules of engagement are intense in this arena. Executive Insight recently published a blog post from Jennifer Smith, who discussed some of the ways that analytics can be a powerful force in the medical sector, as well as some of the risk management concerns that need to be reconciled among providers.

Patient data remains at the center of the analytics discussion. Patient data remains at the center of the analytics discussion.

According to the author, patient data has been at increased risk of breach for several years now, with several major breaches taking place in a relatively short period of time, including the attack on the Office of Personnel Management. Her suggestion was relatively simple in essence, as she argued that medical firms will want to incorporate the analytics program into a strong standing system that is sculpted in accordance with the statutes established by the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act.

What’s more, Smith pointed out that there are solutions available to “de-identify” data, essentially making patient files anonymous so that the use of the information in an analytics program will not negatively impact privacy protection. Furthermore, the expert asserted that these efforts are more than worthy of the time and resources, as a strong analytics program in the health care industry can significantly improve patient care and outcomes on a large scale.

Striking the balance
If a firm has not revised its information governance policies in more than a year, the time to do so is now. This should be a routine of sorts, and one that is at least evaluated a few times each year to ensure continued relevance in a constantly transforming landscape. Without strong, intelligent information governance programs in place, analytics will often be disruptive and could increase risk associated with privacy, security and compliance given the sheer scale of the initiatives.

By working with a vendor of data management and intelligence solutions, health care providers and others can begin to get more out of their analytics investments without bolstering their risk levels.

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