Board Communications on the Fast Track

Originally published: Trustee Magazine, April 2008

By Joe Ruck

Hospital boards are beginning to take best practice cues from their corporate counterparts and modernize their communication methods by adopting board portals.

A board portal is a secure “host”— i.e., an online storage system for managing trustee communications. It is accessible anytime, from anywhere in the world. Portals typically have a repository for managing current and historical documents, an online calendar, and an online address book. More advanced portals also offer such capabilities as secure e-mail, Web conferencing and “vaults” for off-line document storage by individuals.

Several factors are driving organizations to adopt board portals. Greater regulatory oversight and competitive pressures have significantly increased the volume and pace of board work, making paper-based communications inadequate. And boards have become more aware of the shortcomings of regular e-mail as a way of communicating; e-mail is not secure and can be used out of context in litigation against an organization. Additionally, board portal technologies now exist that are highly secure, easy to use, and functionally rich, making it possible for boards to transition from paper to Web-based communications.

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