Healthcare Issues & Trends

Advice & Insights for healthcare's Leaders & HR Professionals

A Season of Sound Bites

Posted on March 1, 2016 by James A. Rice, Ph.D., FACHE


The run up to elections, and the run up to population health management.

Both journeys subject us to deceptive and frustrating sound bites that suggest there are easy answers to complex challenges.

Both journeys make Boards naively hunger for short, easy answers to tough questions. But board work today is far from easy.

How are board members supposed to make sense out of our rapidly changing political, social, clinical, and financial landscapes?

Can we find any easy answers about how to govern in an age of more transparent decision making, more complicated, integrated clinical care management systems, and more difficult performance score cards?

I don’t think we will unless we recruit and support civic leaders who are passionate about “Governance Innovation.”

We need to be hungrier to continuously enhance and improve the processes, people, practices and information for governing; not only governing our own organization, but governing across the many other health related organizations in our region that we do not control or own.

For high performing governing bodies we need board leaders that continuously seek innovative governance that embraces creative, fresh, and cost-effective new ways to master five types of governance:

  1. Collaborative Governance
  2. Competency Based Governance
  3. Generative Governance
  4. Intentional Governance
  5. Transformational Governance

To encourage health sector executives and board members to examine their local board practices through the new eye-glasses of governance in different contexts, we are also publishing a series of three papers entitled “Dare to Compare,” which explores Great Governance in Canada, Great Governance in US Credit Unions, and Great Governance in the National Health Service of England.

Watch also for our studies this Spring into the challenges and best practices for governing bodies of Local Health Departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Long Term Care Facilities, Medical Groups, Academic Medical Centers, Accountable Care Organizations, Critical Access Hospitals, and Hospital Related Foundations.

No easy answers, but intriguing and provocative questions that stretch us out of our comfort zones into the challenging and unchartered waters of “continuous governance improvement for population health management and accountable care.”


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