Better Board Meetings

Reprinted with permission from the June 2015 issue of Trustee magazine, vol. 68, no. 6. © 2015 by Health Forum Inc. Permission granted for digital use only.

By Luanne R. Stout

What if the typical hospital board meeting — multiple hours spent on endless pages of financial data, slide after slide of bullet points and little time left for meaningful discussion — could be more engaging and less time-consuming? With some planning and practice, boards and senior executives can make this happen.

At Texas Health Resources, a 24-hospital system in the Dallas Fort Worth area, we’ve taken a different approach to agenda planning and board presentations that allows us to spend more time in discussion and less time on routine reporting. First, we put action items early in our agendas to ensure thoughtful consideration and a quorum when voting, rather than later in the meeting when trustees become tired and less attentive or need to leave. Action items are followed by discussion, routine retrospective reports and finally, an executive session. We specify times for each item on the agenda to hold people accountable for staying on track.

Streamlining the process and cutting down on presentation time has increased discussion of our most important topics at board meetings.

To