The role of governance in healthcare organizations looks a bit different than it does in other industries. A successful governance structure holds its boards and leaders accountable for continuously improving operations, clinical staff and processes, financial performance, and society.
The healthcare board of directors and executive management are in charge of all aspects of corporate governance. One complex governance area unique to the healthcare industry is clinical governance, which includes caring for patients, managing clinical practices, and day-to-day administration.
Governance in Healthcare
Governance in healthcare organizations continues to evolve. Hospitals must navigate their way to implementing a comprehensive governance system that effectively integrates clinical governance and corporate governance.
Recently, we have heard three recurring concerns from healthcare organizations regarding their governance practices.
Excessively large boards lead to poor communication and ultimately weak governance practices.
The disconnect between clinical and corporate governance causes a lack of transparency and communication between these integral facets of healthcare governance.
Managing the financial and risk mitigation responsibilities of a healthcare organization can be difficult across varying departments and teams.
Communicating with Large Boards
The healthcare industry, above most others, consistently has the largest number of directors on their boards. With many departments, levels of leadership, and cross-team areas of responsibility to focus on, a healthcare board’s size can become unwieldy. Overly large boards that aren’t communicating properly or enough become weak, and weak boards can’t tackle the incredibly complex pressing issues healthcare organizations face. The effectiveness of these large boards, though they are staffed with all the talent the hospital needs, is compromised due to uninformed members and lapses in communication.
An answer to uncommunicative boards is to implement board management software. The right board management software enables easy, concise, and transparent board communication. This technology promotes better collaboration, and centralizes information, enabling board members to be fully updated and prepared for meetings.
David Goldsmith, who has served on countless boards including John Muir Health’s board says, “Historically, board meetings were taken up with committee reports and repetition of what’s in the board package distributed before the meeting. But now we operate under the assumption they’ve read all that.” Implementing a hospital board portal software like Govenda means that all relevant information, including the board book, is readily available to all board members. Goldsmith continues, “My expectation will be that if you come, I assume you’ve read it, and if you have questions, you’ll pick up the phone and call the relevant executive before the meeting, get your questions answered, and be prepared to discuss strategy. Having said all that, it’s always a battle.”
Committee Infrastructure that’s Connected and Secure
The need for multiple groups and committees is a necessity, due to the complex nature and demands of a hospital board. Historically, Govenda has included the addition of unlimited committees and groups in every package because we understand the importance of committee support to the financial well-being of hospital boards. Highly specialized committees and groups enable the board to track specific matters and inform other board members and CEOs, but boards delivering and receiving multiple recurring reports will require a robust communication system.
Clinical and Corporate Governance: Separate and Linked
At first glance, corporate governance seems to involve matters unrelated to clinical governance. Business tasks, such as accounting, finance, investment, HR, IT, facilities, and security, all fall under the corporate governance umbrella. However, these matters directly support patient care, practice processes, healthcare procedures, and other structures that healthcare organizations need to serve patients.
Maintaining and improving the quality and safety of patient care is the goal of clinical governance, which holds healthcare organizations accountable to their stakeholders and the community they serve. This requires further corporate governance support in business performance, risk management, ethics, and compliance with laws and regulations.
Despite having their own objectives, the clinical and corporate governance systems of a healthcare organization are intrinsically linked. Both must work in concert to ensure that healthcare organizations achieve their business goals, ensure the quality of service, and manage resources well. Healthcare organizations are expected to turn a profit while operating as ethical citizens would.
Managing Risk in Healthcare Governance
One major risk management issue for modern healthcare organizations is the clinical transfer of electronic medical records (EMR), and whether current processes respect patient confidentiality and HIPAA rules. Improper practices for transferring sensitive healthcare information could negatively affect patient care, or lead to malpractice lawsuits and payer recovery audits.
Healthcare governance systems can best assess potential clinical risks when working together. Billing and compliance monitoring activities require a dual approach: as corporate governance activities focus on regulatory and compliance risks, clinical governance activities focus on patient safety and EMR risks, and technology can unite the information. It’s crucial for healthcare organizations to put training programs in place across systems so that all employees know and understand their unique role of governance in healthcare organizations and risk management -especially during times of transition.
Another crucial component of ongoing risk management in healthcare is to establish feedback loops among stakeholders. Clear lines of communication set the stage for continual improvement when corporate and clinical governance systems interface with each other, advancing the goal of the highest-quality possible outcomes for patients.
Board Management Software for Better Governance
The scope and complexity of healthcare governance are strong motivators for healthcare organizations to invest in board management software, to ensure that they’re fulfilling their governance obligations while keeping private matters confidential.
Now, more than ever, hospitals need strong technology solutions to bring the right stakeholders together, establish a shared understanding of each other’s objectives, align incentives, and prioritize board activities, successfully integrating their governance systems into one.
Govenda brings all the appropriate parties under one electronic platform, using state-of-the-art security to protect their collaborative efforts. Connecting board directors to executives to risk management teams is seamless in Govenda: granular permission settings allow varying levels of access to protect your information while keeping your teams informed and connected.
Govenda is an industry leader in board management software programs for healthcare organizations. Designed with healthcare governance in mind, Govenda is the system healthcare boards need to manage the issues of today, tomorrow, and all the transitions in between. Offering unmatched ROI and user-experience-focused design, Govenda is the answer to complex governance.
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