Only 24% of hospital board members have clinical backgrounds

A 2022 survey found less than a quarter of hospital and health system board members have a clinical background, underscoring the need for all stakeholders to collaborate and educate boards on quality and performance improvement, according to an American Hospital Association leader. 

For board members to champion quality and performance improvement with confidence, they need to be well-informed about healthcare terms, community needs, evidence-based practices and the metrics for quality improvement, Sue Ellen Wagner, vice president of trustee services at the AHA, said in a Nov. 8 blog post

CMS' latest update to the Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement program elevates the expectations of governing bodies in quality oversight, giving boards, executive leaders and quality departments "an opportunity to collaborate, share accountability and drive forward quality and performance improvement," Ms. Wagner wrote. 

To ensure boards are invested in driving quality improvement, the AHA laid out three best practices: 

  • Create a culture of openness and transparency where questions are encouraged, as this is necessary for board members to understand and support quality initiatives. This may include providing board members an orientation on quality measures and initiatives, discussing KPI dashboards with the board and encouraging committee membership. 
  • Use community needs to drive quality initiatives. 
  • Elevate diversity and equity in board composition and strategy.

The AHA is planning to publish additional resources related to board oversight of quality and performance improvement. 

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