Bringing Healthcare Organisations’ Boards into the 21st century

Hospitals and healthcare organisations use cutting-edge technology every day to save lives and improve patient outcomes. In the boardroom, however, adoption of modern technology occurs at a slower pace, with many healthcare leaders still using paper-based media, outdated processes, and inefficient technology to make important decisions.

Most governing hospital and healthcare boards run their meetings according to Robert’s Rules of Order, a framework first published in the late 1800s. While these well-known parliamentary procedures based on majority rule help to structure a board meeting, they do little to improve the flow of information to board members or increase their effectiveness.

Hospital and healthcare boards also get bogged down by the number of labor hours needed for staff to compile, print, and deliver the hundreds of pages of board and committee agenda materials produced for each meeting. Need to insert a last-minute update or find a specific discussion from a previous meeting? Good luck with sifting through mounds of paperwork or email threads in a timely manner.

A healthcare board management software platform, such as  OnBoard, empowers boards with better security and access to real-time data, as well as ensuring a stricter regulatory environment focused on HIPAA compliance and other requirements.

More boards are joining the digital world by using board portals; but the number is growing slowly, from 52 percent of all boards in 2014 to 55 percent of all boards in 2018. — AHA

Transforming the healthcare organisation boardroom using a web-based board portal can increase security and compliance, improve decision-making, and create more effective meetings. Here’s how:

Safety & Security

Hospitals, urgent care centres, biotech firms, medical-device and pharmaceutical companies, and medical insurance providers document, process, and store sensitive patient information every day. Their boards — often tasked with making financial, legal, and strategic decisions for the organisation — need the same level of safety and security when viewing and discussing sensitive matters online before, during, or after a board meeting.

Board portals certainly make it more convenient for staff to upload and deliver all of the documents and materials to prepare everyone before a board meeting, especially during pandemic times when every meeting occurs virtually. On the other hand, sending hundreds of pages of board documents by email to each board member increases the potential for security risks.

Also, if your healthcare organisation uses web conferencing services like Zoom, Google Meet, and others to conduct virtual meetings, you need to be aware of known security vulnerabilities specific to any particular platform. For instance, someone could hack into a board member’s email or calendar and copy the meeting link or code to gain access to sensitive information, materials, and discussions.

COVID-19 dramatically transformed every element of in-person and virtual interaction, including board meetings for hospitals and healthcare organisations. A secure board portal that offers robust safety features, such as end-to-end encryption, web conferencing integration, and the ability to remotely wipe devices or preserve data integrity, can increase the level of security that’s crucial for healthcare systems and help boards meet safely and effectively.

Regulatory & Corporate Compliance

For regulatory compliance with privacy acts such as HIPAA, a secure board portal becomes even more important for hospitals and healthcare boards to keep information secure.

Federally Qualified Health Centre (FQHC), for example, must adhere to the regulations set forth by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). They must maintain accurate records, safeguard personal data, and provide instant access to documentation — all of which OnBoard offers as key features in its board portal software.

Board meeting minutes need to reflect decisions and the rationale behind each decision, and also accompany regulatory reporting. A board portal platform with the functionality for easy note-taking and recordings of meeting minutes also makes it easier to stay in compliance with corporate governance rules.

In addition, OnBoard provides unlimited resource folders to upload large files for the board to review anytime without sending emails, as well as a Voting & Approvals functionality for boards to conduct a vote or make decisions from anywhere and on any device.

In a highly regulated industry like healthcare, boards need management software with easy-to-use document access, real-time voting, and robust adherence to security standards to operate effectively, stay compliant, and improve the quality of care.

Time Savings for the Whole Organisation

The sometimes month-long process of compiling board books, ensuring board members receive the most up-to-date information, and encouraging board members to review the materials prior to a meeting create huge workloads for executive administrators. A board portal gives health organisations a secure digital platform to make timely updates in a single source of truth.

This time savings translates to more than just efficiency for a single board meeting or a lone administrative assistant. For multi-system healthcare organisations and hospitals, a board portal can generate nearly exponential savings of time and effort for the whole organisation.

For example, a healthcare board executive working for a multi-hospital network may need to attend 400 board and committee meetings each year, which can easily eat up 4,000 to 12,000 hours of management time that can be better spent elsewhere.

Hospitals and health networks also save time on the cumbersome annual task of collecting questionnaires from directors and officers to ensure ongoing compliance with annual reporting and review. OnBoard’s integrated solution automates the D&O process to make it simple, easy, and replicable.