Leadership Toolkit for Redefining the H: Engaging Trustees and Communities

Leadership Toolkit for Redefining the H: Engaging Trustees and Communities

Hospitals and health care systems in the United States are focused on redefining the “H”—that is, exploring what it means to be a hospital in a rapidly transforming health care environment. As the field moves from a fee-for-service to value-based model, hospitals are focusing on quality and population health management, and on providing more integrated, better coordinated care. The goals are to improve the health of the community through increased access to primary care, appropriate admissions and reduced inappropriate readmissions, and to make measurable gains in improving outcomes of care and reducing harm.

To meet these challenges, hospital and health care system executive will need to lead the way in forging community collaborations that:

  • Appropriately allocate resources and define a shared responsibility for improving community health
  • Bring insight, perspective and support from the community into the hospital board room as hospital leaders consider paths for transformation
  • Enter into strategic partnerships for improving community health and health outcomes

Two AHA committees, the 2014 Committee on Research and 2014 Committee on Performance Improvement, worked to better understand where hospitals and communities are in their journeys of transformation. Jointly the committees have released “Leadership Toolkit for Redefining the H: Engaging Trustees and Communities.”

The Committee on Performance Improvement hosted six community events across the country in 2014, listening and learning from community partners and seeking to foster further collaboration and engagement. The Committee on Research conducted a separate survey on the readiness of hospital and health care system trustees to adapt their governance practices to the new realities in a changing health care environment. Survey responses were collected from 949 CEOs and 629 trustees.

Together, the AHA Committees on Research and on Performance Improvement compiled this feedback and information to identity common themes and recommendations. The Leadership Toolkit includes a report of the survey results and “community conversations” feedback, recommendations and other insights on how hospitals leaders can work with patients, families and diverse community partners to meet the challenges of a transforming health care field. The Leadership Toolkit also includes eight additional tools and resources focused on engaging communities and trustees. These resources provide guidance for hospitals to host their own community conversations and outline current high-performance governance practices, competency-based board composition and more. Scroll down the right toolbar to view and download each section of the Leadership Toolkit.

For hospitals and health care systems, the ability to successfully navigate the complexity and uncertainty inherent in transformation is not guaranteed. But by strengthening leadership and governance practices and engaging with diverse community partners, hospitals are more likely to be successful in achieving The triple Aim. Hospital and health care system leaders can use the information and resources in the “Leadership Toolkit for Redefining the H” to be engaged, empowered and accountable on behalf of their patients and communities. 


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