5 issues all hospital boards must tackle

During a time of funding cuts, regulatory constraints and changing care models, hospital boards must work together with CEOs to "assure the solvency and sustainability of their hospital," according to a piece by Paul Keckley in Hospitals & Health Networks.

Keckley, a leading health economist and managing director of the Navigant Center for Healthcare Research and Policy Analysis, said hospital boards must understand emergent issues to better prepare themselves for the evolving industry.

In order for a hospital to survive and support a capable CEO, Keckley said boards must address the following concerns at every meeting:

  1. Unnecessary care: Not adhering to evidence-based care is a huge risk to the hospital and can result in gaps in care, he said, so trustees must hold management accountable to high standards.

  2. Physician partnership: Doctors are now less dependent on hospitals for capital, patients and revenue, and many physicians are more tech savvy than ever before. Use that knowledge when building a physician-partnership model for the future, he suggested.

  3. Clinical innovation: Figure out which new technologies will suit the hospital best but consider the ones that are most helpful to the community's health as well as the hospital's budget. "In all likelihood, clinical partnerships will be necessary to sustain state-of-the-art services," Keckley wrote.

  4. Consumerism and retail health: This is a vital area of growth for all hospitals, he said. Patients want to control their own health and are open to group visits, personalized online tools and electronic authorization for script fulfillment, according to Keckley. They want transparency and easy access. 

  5. Alternative capital: Explore the "full range of options in accessing capital and be more strategic in managing return on capital in deploying assets," Keckley wrote. Understand the implication of the organization's capital expenditure commitments and be prepared to justify investment decisions.

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- here's the article