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Boardrooms and patient care

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A piece by Austin Frakt on The New York Times Web site discusses how hospital board rooms are as important as operating rooms in patient care.

But, “'{B}oard members are community leaders, serving on the board to support fund-raising goals,’  Ashish Jha, a Harvard physician, told Mr. Frakt. “They don’t think it’s their job to hold management accountable for performance. Board members often feel like clinical quality is physicians’ jobs, and they don’t want to step on doctors’ toes.”

”The trouble with this perspective is that boards, and other hospital management, can influence care in ways that individual physicians cannot. They can promote protocols that ensure that crucial information is conveyed to the right people at the right time. They can establish systems so that equipment and supplies are available when needed. They can set expectations for a culture of high performance, not just from individuals but from teams of them that must work together. And they can require quality to be monitored against goals with incentives to push it toward those targets.”

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