This article suggests new directions for hospital governance to meet the demands of a rapidly changing health care environment. Board members must increasingly play roles as risk takers, strategic directors, experts, mentors, and evaluators. Lessons from other industries regarding risk taking, use of expertise, and streamlining decision making must be adapted to meet hospital needs. Recent data suggest that these needs may still differ by hospital ownership despite a convergence in investor-owned and not-for-profit corporate structures. The effectiveness of hospital boards in the future will depend on their ability to: (1) manage a diverse group of stakeholders; (2) involve physicians in the management and governance process; (3) meet the governance needs of multi-institutional systems and hospital restructuring; (4) meet the challenges of diversification and vertical integration; and (5) understand strategy formulation and implementation as interdependent and interrelated processes.
Address correspondence and requests for reprints to Stephen M. Shortell, Ph.D., J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Leverone Hall, 2001 Sheridan Road, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208.
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