Governing in the Digital Age

By James W. Gauss

Most boards I know were built by recruiting business leaders, physicians and clergy, and it’s important to have broad community representation among trustees. Increasingly, however, boards are recruiting new members by using a skills-based approach aligned with the organization’s strategic needs, including the need for information technology expertise. This is where “digital directors” come in.

Health care boards need two types of digital expertise. The first is obvious: knowledge of and skills in health information technology and informatics. Trustees must understand electronic health records, meaningful use requirements, data analysis and information systems integration. IT is the tool that will enable the quality, effciency and cost savings that hospitals and systems need. It also unlocks the potential of personalized medicine and a more patient-centric industry.

The second type of expertise needed is a keen understanding of IT in general and how it energizes every enterprise within our society. In all industries, IT is fueling advances in finance, human resources, marketing, quality, compliance, operations and strategy.

There’s no question that tomorrow’s great organizations will be those that leverage IT most successfully.

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