Hospital board of directors are not immune to the current unstable economic atmosphere. The changing political tides have increased the complexities for hospital boards; in particular, the Affordable Care Act, new laws allowing people to opt out of coverage, and more changes for the future. Amidst general hospital board of directors duties such as establishing missions, goals, and long-term policies for success, concerns often arise regarding successful hospital board practices.
Many issues currently facing hospital boards today are large board numbers, the pressures of financial management, the need for well-informed board members, and continuing education. In these rapidly changing times, hospital board of directors is in need of a board portal software, such as BoardBookit, to greatly streamline governance, distribute information, and communicate efficiently.
Managing Big Boards with BoardBookit
The Healthleaders Media Industry Survey 2013 found that while 66% of hospital CEOs say their boards are strong or very strong, 11% say their boards are weak or very weak. Many times, this is due to the large numbers of members that comprise hospital board of directors. In his article, “Building a Better Healthcare Board,” Philip Betbeze says, “whether boards are too large, too unwieldy…many of them need help to deal with the new realities of healthcare.” Changes to the way hospital board of directors manage and advise is changing, but not fast enough. Diversity in gender, race, and expertise is essential for a well-rounded hospital board, however, having a large board has its limitations. Good board governance suggests hospital boards should have 13-15 members. However, some hospital boards are reaching between 20-25 members. Betbeze continues, it can be tough to manage board composition when the somewhat competitive goals of community representation and range of expertise conflict. Balancing size and levels of expertise can give healthcare board chairs headaches.” Often times, the effectiveness of these large boards can be compromised due to uninformed members and lapses in communication.
The answer to this perplexing compromise is integrating a hospital board portal software like BoardBookit. BoardBookit board meeting software meets boards and their members in the middle through enhancing communication. BoardBookit board portal software is optimized for hospital board collaboration with one common platform for all board documents and activity. The BoardBookit board of directors software includes a searchable directory which allows users to easily located members, view profiles, and contact information. Hospital board administrators can post monthly newsletters, press releases, and letters from the CEO that can be viewed between meetings on any device from the BoardBookit app. Finalizing meeting times for large boards is also modernized through the BoardBookit app. Users can RSVP to upcoming meetings, access past minutes, and vote on proposed meeting dates.
David Goldsmith, who has served on countless board including John Muir Health’s board says, “Historically, a lot of 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 BoardBookit makes information, including the board book, 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.” Luckily, BoardBookit created a common platform for all hospital board documentation that is available on all devices including iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and web browsers. The information is even available offline to help board members who travel frequently stay up to date. This is especially crucial due to the financial responsibilities of the hospital board of directors.
Managing a Successful Financial Infrastructure
Financial responsibilities have always been at the forefront of hospital board management because hospital boards play a significant role in the financial health of their institutions. In their study, “Hospital Board Infrastructure and Functions: The Role of Governance in Financial Performance” Dan Culica and Elizabeth Prezio state, “understanding of the correct approach to successfully fulfill this purpose is critical for preparing their organizations for positioning adequately in the healthcare market.” Today, effective hospital board governance is often related to high hospital financial performance. Culica and Prezio found that “in a survey of nonfederal community hospitals both Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and trustees indicated that financial aspects of organizational performance received the most attention during board meetings.” Therefore, the secure distribution and visibility of this documentation is a primary concern of BoardBookit. Our secure, cloud-based board portal allow hospital board members to view, annotate, and electronically sign documents wherever they are. The BoardBookit experience is the same on every device.
Due to the complex nature and demands of a hospital board, the need for multiple groups and committees is a necessity. “The infrastructure that boards need to perform effective financial oversight includes appropriate committees and access to expeditiously reviewed information,” says Culica and Prezio. BoardBookit included the addition of unlimited committees and groups in every intuitive package because we understand the importance of these committees to the financial well being of hospital boards. Betbeze also adds, “if a hospital is too far gone financially or has not retooled to better respond to the fact that it is being judged on other factors, board members may be in for a rude awakening.” These committees and groups are essential to keeping track of financial reports and informing board members and CEOs. In their article for Trustee Magazine Clare Moylan and Derek Pierce explain, “in severe crises, boards sometimes are not even aware that their organization is in danger of failing, particularly if the hospital’s monthly operating reports do not include metrics that would indicate problems early on.” BoardBookit makes sure the members and committees of the hospital board of directors are informed at all times through our innovative board portal software.
Building a Better Hospital Board of Directors
Moylan and Pierce also outline a strategy for hospital board best practices. Some of these key insights include keeping board members informed, training board members properly, and strategic planning. BoardBookit designed its board portal software to keep documentation and data available and secure to those who need to access that information. Three levels of administrative security make this possible. Onboarding new members is also easy with BoardBookit. We offer world-class customer care for effortless training services. Moyland and Pierce continue that all hospitals should have “a strategic assessment and a three-year strategic plan. From these, the board can understand the hospital’s “as is” position and prepare a list of strategic initiatives that will help the hospital achieve its mission.” BoardBookit helps your hospital board stay on track with our common document library that supports multiple file types.
Betbeze concludes that creating a successful hospital board comes down to developing a culture of openness, transparency, strong leadership, and the willingness to keep learning and adapting. Integrating a hospital board portal software like BoardBookit will mitigate the issues that plague large boards while keeping members informed on current policies, laws, and regulations, especially regarding the financial well-being of their institution.
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