Healthcare News & Insights

Is your hospital board aware of these 4 leadership “blind spots”?

Hospital boards must make sure they’ve got a clear view of the big picture affecting their facilities, not just the financials. Board members may not be fully aware of some crucial areas that make a big difference for a hospital’s success – and they need more knowledge of these topics. 

ThinkstockPhotos-102915172Dr. Paul Keckley, healthcare research expert and former director of the Navigant Center for Healthcare Research and Policy Analysis, wrote an article for Hospitals and Health Networks discussing some of the most important issues affecting facilities that hospital boards need to stay informed about.

Awareness necessary

Per Dr. Keckley, here are four “blind spots” many boards inadvertently ignore:

  1. Publicly accessible data and cybersecurity. Keeping information secure from outside threats is a daunting task, but one that hospital boards must be aware of. It’s critical for each board member to understand how this data is stored, as well as how the information is used to evaluate a hospital’s performance. It’s also key for board members to know how this data affects daily operations in their facility, including its effect on charges and clinical practices.
  2. Clinical innovation. New research is published every day concerning best practices for treatment of diseases, managing hospital staff, avoiding complications and more. And care delivery in hospitals shifts and changes in response to these developments. The board needs to stay on top of these updates as best it can – especially regarding how they’re affecting care delivery and design at the hospital. That way, the board can make the best decisions about where to allocate funds in the budget.
  3. Regulation and compliance risk. Just like medical science is constantly changing, the rules and regulations governing hospitals are always being updated. And with more federal focus on care coordination, hospitals are branching out and offering different options such as long-term care facilities and retail clinics. Each new service a hospital provides has its own set of regulations to follow. From reimbursement to general compliance, it’s essential for hospital boards to know exactly how these rules affect their facilities – and how they’re addressed in the hospital’s compliance plan.
  4. Culture. A facility’s culture is important to maintaining a high standard of care. Not only does it set the overall direction for policies and procedures, it also keeps staff engaged and involved in helping the hospital meet its objectives. According to Dr. Keckley, the most successful hospitals have a culture where all individuals are respected, feedback is encouraged without retribution or punishment and goals go beyond meeting financial targets. Board members need to understand their facility’s culture – both the good aspects and the ones that must be improved. Well-meaning initiatives won’t get off the ground without the cultural elements to back them up. Board members must understand what makes a positive culture in their hospital, and take steps to build upon strengths and shore up weak spots.

Important for survival

A board that’s proactive about understanding these four elements has the potential to help its facility better handle the changes coming as part of the new value-focused healthcare climate, allowing it to survive and thrive.

Taking the blinders off and tackling these areas head on can allow hospitals to successfully meet benchmarks for quality measures and federal mandates, while ignoring them can have significant negative consequences.

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