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​​​​​Skills and Role


Board effectiveness relies on the ways in which board members translate their knowledge and information into quality and safety plans with measurable goals, maintain oversight on progress towards these goals, and hold the CEO, and through her or him, accountable for these goals. Boards and leaders of provider organizations are legally responsible for the performance of their organization and are charged to take final and definitive responsibility for improvements, successful delivery, and equally of failures in the quality of care. How a board fulfils its role in quality and safety will impact all other areas of performance including financial performance of the organization, CEO performance, performance of the Board itself, risk management performance, stakeholder relations and strategic planning performance.

Tools and Resources

Role of Boards in Quality and Safety

The entire board is responsible for oversight and decision making around quality and safety. Quality and safety committees of the board may help to organize information and review all material pertinent to quality and safety, and may delegate some other tasks but the board is responsible for oversight and decision making.

  • Garden City Family Health Team Statement of Board's Role and Responsibilities
  • Vancouver Island Health Authority Board of Directors Guidelines

Legislative Responsibilities for Quality and Safety

The board is responsible for establishing the Quality and Safety plan for their organization. The board may use a Quality Committee to enhance the board's oversight. A summary of patient safety and quality legislation in Canada can be found on pages 34-38 of the Patient Safety and Quality Priorities for Consortium Participants

Board Self Evaluation

Board self-evaluation is an important practice to identify what the board perceives as their education needs and practices. Boards should be engaged in an ongoing journey of self-improvement.

  • Board Evaluation Process Overview (OHA GCE form 7.10, p. 163)
  • Board Peer Assessment Questionnaire (OHA GCE form 7.9, p. 161)
  • Guideline on Creating a Board Self-Assessment Survey (OHA GCE form 7.11, p. 165)
  • Vancouver Island Health Authority Board of Directors Evaluation (most recent version)
  • 7 Board Tools for Ongoing Improvement

Board Competencies to Lead on Quality and Patient Safety

It is important for the Board to identify the governance skills necessary for meeting a quality and patient safety agenda, to this end; they must identify the appropriate mix of background, experience and competencies to fulfil their role. Boards are encouraged to use a competency matrix to identify the ideal composition of the board and to inform recruitment process. Board leadership, succession planning, orientation, ongoing development and tenure should be explicit outlined by the board.

  • LHSC Board Director Skills Inventory
  • VIHA Selection Criteria for Potential Directors