A primer on Ontario’s health care system for hospital boards of directors
Lately I have found myself on a few health care boards in both Alberta and Ontario.
I have been impressed by the dedication of the board members, and the depth and breadth of expertise they provide.
I am also convinced that having many board members who are not health care insiders provides an exceptionally important external view and critical eye that makes the system better.
However, the health care system is so complex that getting up to speed can be a daunting challenge for new board members, especially those with no health care background. Even those of us who have worked within the system for many years are not aware of many important nuances – although I started medical school way back in 1976, there hasn’t been a single Healthy Debate story I’ve worked on in which I didn’t learned something.
Ideally, organizations within health care would provide their boards with an orientation to their organization, the board’s responsibilities and an understanding of how their organization fits into the broader health care system. Recognizing that not every organization is able to do this, Ayodele Odutayo, with help from Jeremy Petch, has produced a Primer for Hospital Boards of Directors. We hope it will be useful for hospital board members in Ontario, and will complement the excellent material already available to them. In 11 pages it covers some “basics” that we think are important for hospital board members, with links to various Healthy Debate articles and opinion pieces that explore some issues in more depth.
We are committed to keep this material up to date, and will be reviewing the document every 6 months to add new material and delete material that is no longer current.
Healthy Debate is also working with the Association of Ontario Health Centres to produce a second guide tailored for board members of Ontario’s community governed health care organizations. We plan to release this second guide later in the fall.
I hope this primer is of use to board members and others, and I am eager for your feedback.
My thanks to Ayo and Jeremy for a terrific job, as well as the team at the Ontario Hospital Association’s Governance Centre of Excellence for their careful review and suggestions which improved the document.
To view and/or download the document, click here. We’ve developed the primer as a PDF that is optimized for online viewing on your computer or tablet (it contains many hyperlinks to helpful resources). You can also print the document to review offline.