Healthcare has been a challenging highly regulated, highly controlled industry for a long time. In the past it was possible for top leaders and the boards that appoint them to count on an industry with relative stability and predictability.
This changed when reimbursements and patient safety standards were altered. These changes are changing the way healthcare organizations operate to stay competitive. These changes have created new challenges for healthcare boards.
In the course of this research, we surveyed opinion leaders who cited three types behaviours of healthcare boards that they believed to be especially important:
A solid board must insist on the correct information. It must stress the importance of safety and quality goals and give trustees meaningful targets. This includes using measures that have been approved by the National Quality Forum and developing a solid benchmarking strategy which identifies and explains the best performers. The objective should be to empower trustees to challenge every hospital and system to improve the quality and reduce medical errors.
The board should also solicit the help of trustees with expertise in the field of quality and safety (e.g. high reliability, Six Sigma) to serve on and chair the board’s quality committee. Ideally, these people could be drawn from other industries like aviation or nuclear power. This will ensure that the board has a specialist available to assist the CEO and other employees in establishing and achieving their goals, and that the healthcare leadership is doing everything it can to improve performance.