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Boards whose members have quality and safety knowledge are more capable of fulfilling the fiduciary responsibilities on quality of care and patient safety. Quality and safety knowledge and skills can be learned by board members through the application of educational resources and programs.

Boards Can Acquire Confidence to Lead Through Learning About Quality and Patient Safety

  • Board members tend to not have backgrounds in healthcare clinical quality or safety, but this information could be being effectively delivered to boards through educational sessions and modules.
  •  Create opportunities for boards to learn from one another. Organizations can share best practices and showcase successful initiatives and practices through meetings, virtual networks, conferences and quality fairs.
    • The Saskatoon Health Region has an annual Quality and Safety Summit, with poster sessions, team presentations, and awards to celebrate what the region is doing to improve quality and safety.
    • The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care hosts an annual Healthcare Innovations Expo that profiles innovation and improvement projects in the province.
    • Nova Scotia Community Health Boards hold bi-annual conferences to share best practices through plenary presentations and sessions.
  • Board retreats can provide members with opportunities to learn and work together, and bring the board, senior leaders and other leaders in the same room. Board retreats can foster developing a shared agenda, as well as enable acquisition of quality improvement skills and knowledge.

Board Member Competencies

  •  Board processes for recruitment or appointment of members can also focus on specific skill sets or competencies related to quality and safety, such as measurement or process mapping. For example, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority required in 2009 that nominees for the board possess one of three skills sets to fill gaps in the collective knowledge of the board.

Quality Committee of the Board

  • The quality committee should carefully select board members with quality/safety expertise from other professions and with backgrounds from industry, education or other healthcare organizations. Members of the quality committee can also learn from clinical staff that sits on the committee.