Data Governance Successes and Challenges: Spotlight on UHNJ03/29/2019
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We are continuing our blog series discussing challenges and successes from data governance leaders across the nation. Our third interview is with Sara Gonzalez, Director, Project Management Office at University Hospital in Newark, NJ.

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us Sara. What successes did you have in the past year?

Our organization developed and launched an Executive Scorecard with standard metrics that is now being published and distributed to leadership daily.  It is a combination of different data sets, systems and departments coming together to agree on a standard set of metrics.  We are very much in an infancy stage with the management of our metrics right now and have some work to do in 2019 to continue these efforts.

What is the cost of not doing DG for your organization?

While it is costly to work through data governance, it will help us better identify, manage and measure opportunities to use data.  If we did not do data governance, we would lose credibility with our community, peers and board, as information could be reported incorrectly or with different values assigned to the same metric.  Data governance gives us the opportunity to build trust and understanding of a metric and how it should be interpreted or acted on.

What was your most unexpected challenge this past year?

We underestimated the amount of change management needed to ensure the process improvement work being done was successfully adopted.  For example, the Executive Scorecard timeline was extended due to the work effort associated to onboarding and educating the data stewards on data governance, why we need standard definitions, where does the data come from and how it is defined, all while developing the scorecard at the same time.

We also had to deal with competing priorities.  It was an ah-ha moment when we saw that not everyone understood the requirements set by the CEO for the Executive Scorecard and data governance and the benefits of aligning terminology.

What do you see as the biggest challenge you need to tackle this coming year?

As an organization, we went through leadership changes at the end of 2018, with an interim CEO being appointed at the start to 2019.  Our goal for 2019 is to develop an organization-wide strategic plan and make sure we align our data governance objectives of developing standards for data, definitions and terminology to the plan. We are currently working through standard definitions with benchmarking that people can trust and reuse.

From a data governance perspective, our challenge has been people taking data and scrubbing it and interpreting it in different ways based on what and who they are presenting to.  We need to get ahold of that and make sure there is a control to ensure data integrity and trust.

Thank you for your time Sara! Stay tuned for our last interview with Colleen Triplett, Director, Analytics at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, IL.

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