Monday, May 3, 2010

Hospital Boards Are Doing Their Job On Quality Oversight

The 2009 survey by the Governance Institute shows that hospital boards have increased their focus on quality initiatives. This is good news considering some of the recent reports that have suggested that hospitals have not made the progress in quality initiatives that was expected. Chief among those was the recent Leapfrog report.

But the Governance Institute report tells a different story at the board level. The Governance Institute is a not for profit organization dedicated to educating hospital boards and assessing their effectiveness. Their most recent survey included questions related to 13 recommended board practices for quality oversight. Clearly more hospitals are adopting most or all of these practices than was the case two years ago.

Practices that have been adopted by at least 90% of the hospital boards:

1) Review quality performance using dashboards or balanced score cards at least quarterly

2) Review patient satisfaction scores at lest annually

3) Compare current quality performance to historic performance

4) Challenge medical executive committee appointments and reappointments to the medical staff

Practices that have shown significant increase in adoption:

5) Require management to set at least some quality goals on the theoretical ideal

6) Devote significant time at board meetings to quality discussions

7) Ensure that board and medical staff involvement in setting the quality agenda at least equals management input

8) Report quality and safety performance to the general public

9) Have a standing Quality/Safety Committee as one of the top four committees

Increased focus in these nine areas show that most of the hospital boards in this country get the message. With board involvement at this level, we will ultimately get the results that are necessary. My congratulation to you.

More on this later.

Mark Brodeur

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