Earlier this month, a survey by Harvard researchers found that the practices of hospital boards of directors can have a positive impact on the quality of care in their institutions. That's the good news. The bad news is that the survey also found that only half of all hospital boards surveyed ranked quality as one of their top priorities. And only 20% believed that the board can have a strong influence over quality.
This study should be a wake up call to all hospital boards. How a board engages and what it chooses to focus on does make a big difference. That is why the Institute for Health Care Improvement launched a "Boards on Board" initiative to get boards to focus not just on finances, but on improving the quality of care in their institutions. There is still plenty of opportunity for improvement and boards have an important role to play in helping us get there. The study appears in the journal Health Affairs and you can find it on their website. It was conducted and written by Ashish K. Jha and Arnold M. Epstein.