Study Reveals Shortfalls in Hospital Boards' Involvement in Quality Efforts

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Despite evidence showing hospital boards' involvement could boost quality efforts, many boards could be doing more to help their organizations improve quality performance, according to research findings published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The study combined survey data of hospital governance collected by The Governance Institute with hospital performance data drawn from AHRQ and CMS. In total, 13 hospital board practices were examined in the TGI survey. An analysis of those practices revealed some practices are directly associated with improved hospital performance. Those practices include:

 

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•    Requiring major new clinical programs to meet quality-related criteria
•    Setting some quality goals at the "theoretical ideal" level
•    Requiring both the board and the medical staff to be as involved as management in setting the agenda for discussion on quality
•    Requiring the hospital to issue public quality/safety performance reports

The most commonly adopted was regular review of the hospital's quality performance. Ninety-six percent of the responding hospitals conducted such reviews at least once a year.

However, the researchers suggested some areas of weakness as well. For example, only 60 percent of the responding hospitals had a board committee focused specifically on quality. In addition, less than 40 percent of the responding hospitals reported their quality/safety performance to the general public. Another area for improvement is engagement of physician leadership in both oversight activities and quality improvement efforts.

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