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Getting Boards on Board: Engaging Governing Boards in Quality and Safety

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Abstract:

Background: As hospitals seek to drive rapid quality improvement, boards have an opportunity—and a significant responsibility—to make better quality of care the organization's top priority.

Intervention: “Six things all boards should do to improve quality and reduce harm” are recommended: (1) setting aims—set a specific aim to reduce harm this year; make an explicit, public commitment to measurable quality improvement; (2) getting data and hearing stories—select and review progress toward safer care as the first agenda item at every board meeting, grounded in transparency—and putting a “human face” on harm data; (3) establishing and monitoring system-level measures—identify a small group of organizationwide “roll-up” measures of patient safety that are continually updated and are made transparent to the entire organization and its customers; (4) changing the environment, policies, and culture—commit to establish and maintain an environment that is respectful, fair, and just for all who experience the pain and loss as a result of avoidable harm and adverse outcomes: the patients, their families, and the staff at the sharp end of error; (5) learning, starting with the board—develop the board's capability and learn about how “best-in-the-world” boards work with executive and medical staff leaders to reduce harm; (6) establishing executive accountability—oversee the effective execution of a plan to achieve aims to reduce harm, including executive team accountability for clear quality improvement targets.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-04-01

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  • The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety will be published by Elsevier beginning in 2017! For readers who receive access to the journal through their institutions, the journal can now be found on ScienceDirect (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/15537250). For librarians looking to subscribe to the journal for their institutions please contact your Elsevier Account Manager or visit www.myelsevier.com for more information. All other readers, please visit http://www.jointcommissionjournal.com/ to subscribe to the journal or to claim your access for an existing subscription.
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