With much to accomplish in a short time frame, the boardrooms of hospital boards are a flurry of activity. Board trustees need their board packets as early as possible, so they have time to read the plethora of reports from the executives, financial analysts and committees in preparation for the meeting.
Healthcare reform is creating many new challenges for hospital boards. From a governance standpoint, hospitals need to stay informed about regulatory changes and compliance. Technology has been a boon for hospitals, but it has created new questions and discussions for boards as they work to find the best value between cost and innovation.
With precious little time to conduct board business, board trustees need board packets that are timely and complete so they can focus the bulk of their board meeting time on discussing issues related to hospital priorities.
Board portals solve the most pressing issues that hospital boards face, making board members’ jobs far easier and more efficient.
There’s Joy in the Logistics of a Board Portal
The board secretary, board chair and CEO must collaborate to make sure that everything is in order for a board meeting. Each of them can post documents in the portal to share with others and coordinate their efforts. Board officers can also make use of confidential chats to clarify information before the meeting.
The board secretary is the person responsible for making sure that everything is complete and accessible before the meeting, which means that a board portal alleviates the last-minute scrambling. There’s no worry over lost or missing reports or following up to make sure all board members have their packets.
Hospital Boards Face Many Challenges and Decisions
Hospital boards of today are facing increasing uncertainty and volatility. The American College of Healthcare Executives conducted a survey in 2016 to assess the top challenges for hospital boards. Financial issues topped the list, which is a top fiduciary duty for hospital boards.
The survey indicated that hospital board members ranked complying with governmental mandates a close second to financial issues. Third, but by no means insignificant, hospital board members were concerned about patient safety and quality of health care.
Board portals store financial analyzations, audits and reports so that board members can come to the board table fully informed and ready to engage. The board portal is also a place where board members can post relevant articles about trends in hospital finances.
Regulatory changes have come rapidly in recent years. Boards need to stay in the loop regarding CMS regulations, CMS audits, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and ICD-10, which is the classification of diseases. A board portal stores all of this information, making it easily accessible for hospital boards. Demonstrating compliance comes with a cost, which ties into the first priority that hospital board members reported, which is finances. The uncertainty of regulations and new laws requires hospital boards to leave some flexibility in their strategic planning. Using a board portal, board members can shift gears faster and more easily than when reprinting, collating and distributing paper documents.
In addition to the top three challenges for hospital boards, board members have to manage many other issues. Much of the hospital’s work is based on evidence-based practices, which sometimes forces them to provide unnecessary tests or prescriptions over trusting the physicians’ expertise and judgment. Providing the highest quality of care while following hospital regulations is often a difficult challenge to navigate.
Medicine is a highly technical field, so there’s sometimes a large disconnect between board members, who may have expertise in some other area, and physicians, nurses and other hospital staff, who likely have a greater understanding of patients’ needs. Boards need to work hard at developing solid board/staff relationships so they can partner for the good of the hospital. The board portal is the best place to receive and share information about medical providers and what they need to perform to the best of their ability.
Medical research is moving at a quick pace. Research is combining with technology to advance innovative healthcare treatments that help people get and stay healthy. No hospital’s budget can possibly keep pace with the cost of all forms of the latest equipment and technology. Boards have to make many hard choices about planning for equipment purchases and expanding their offerings without breaking the budget. A board portal helps the board to communicate about these issues and store information they’ve gathered so they can implement progressive changes as they can.
Board Portals Provide Different Solutions for Hospitals With Different Needs
The ownership of a hospital reflects the differing needs of hospital governance. Private hospitals owned by shareholders carefully select and elect or appoint their board directors. Board directors are fully accountable not only to their staff and patients, but also to the shareholders, who expect a profit.
Board directors for nonprofit hospitals have a personal interest in the success of the hospital. They typically serve on a hospital board out of their responsibility to their community, employees, donors, volunteers and patients.
Regardless of the hospital’s ownership, a board portal allows board members to connect relationships, evaluate trends and identify patterns in the medical community. This data guides the mission and direction of the hospital. Analyzing these areas will help the board run more efficiently.
In short order, a board portal affords board members the ability to pull up the hospital’s mission and purpose statements, which are statements that board members revisit often when they need to make pivotal decisions.
One of the first duties of board members is recruiting and hiring the CEO, which is usually an extensive process because of the importance of the position. The board also sets the CEO’s compensation. The portal provides a central place for storing the resumes of potential candidates. The portal also stores and archives job descriptions and duties for the CEO and other prominent hospital staff.
With a board portal, there’s no worry about losing important legal documents, financial reports, voting records or strategic plans. Boards that face difficult situations like disciplinary measures for board directors, conflicts of interest and unsavory board behavior can affect the hospital’s reputation. The board portal offers a confidential space for documenting the board’s actions and responding to such difficult issues.
The board portal also stores the board’s Directors and Officers insurance policy for easy access in the event of a lawsuit.
The many benefits of a board portal far outweigh any cost or inconvenience of learning how to use the system. The cost for a hospital to move to a board portal may be similar to that of doing things manually; however, board members will quickly appreciate the savings in time that board portals afford them. The question about the benefits of a board portal is really more a question of why wouldn’t they want to use a board portal, as opposed to why they can benefit from it.
If you aren’t convinced that a board portal solution would be useful in your boardroom, check out a demo of the BoardEffect board portal solution and let us show you how it can secure and improve your board meetings.