iProtean—Board Effectiveness

The cost of keeping hospital and health system boards informed about the issues of the day has been increasing dramatically; yet the need to provide low-cost, quality board education is more acute than ever.


Hospital and health system boards may take a lesson from the world of higher education—that is, exploiting new technology to provide online courses for governance education and up-to-date information on issues and events in the healthcare industry.  In a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman wrote about new companies that “revolutionize higher education by allowing students from all over the world to not only hear lectures, but to do homework assignments, be graded, receive a certificate for completing that course . . . “ through online learning.  (Thomas Friedman, “Come the Revolution.”  New York Times, May 15, 2012.)


Mr. Friedman calls this the “college education revolution.” Private companies and universities such as M.I.T. and Stanford are building electronic platforms that deliver content from university professors, dramatically reducing the cost for students.


Online board education from iProtean functions in the same manner as Mr. Friedman’s “college education revolution”—providing expert content and optimizing efficiencies.  iProtean’s online learning features match those of the higher education programs—an electronic learning platform to enable hospital boards that lack access to high-quality board education—because of financial, geographic or time constraints—to take courses and download information from the country’s best experts on governance and health industry topics, and receive certificates for completing courses.


The savings and convenience are significant.


“When you consider how many problems around the world are attributable to the lack of education, that is very good news. Let the revolution begin.” (Thomas Friedman, “Come the Revolution.”  New York Times, May 15, 2012.)


In the iProtean course Board Effectiveness, Barry Bader, Lawrence Prybil, Ph.D., Elizabeth Mills, Esq., and Anne McGeorge discuss the importance of board education as well as tools for board effectiveness, board meetings, committees, setting priorities and education agendas.


Lawrence Prybil, Ph.D.

In today’s world, which is so dynamic and so changing and so turbulent, we all as board members need to continue to develop our knowledge and skills, particularly those who are not of the healthcare field, but those in the healthcare field as well.  Thinking about the board as a whole and about individual members, what is the best way for us to allocate time to education?  There are many ways we can develop a board member’s knowledge . . .


What are the key educational needs, and how are we going to address those needs?  What is the smartest way and the most efficient and effective way in today’s world with new kinds of technology and new kinds of educational offerings?  We don’t have to think only in terms of sending people away to meetings. Maybe it is smarter to bring people to the board setting, to the system or healthcare setting, or maybe to use various forms of technology that acquaint people with knowledge and content.


Anne McGeorge, Grant Thornton

As boards become more sophisticated, they also need additional education.  As health systems and hospitals become more sophisticated, the boards need to understand not only the regulatory environment, but also roles and responsibilities of the board.  They need to understand operational metrics that are facing hospitals.  They need to understand healthcare reform and all of the outside factors that affect the operation of a health system.


Many boards set forth a certain amount of time at every board meeting, or sometimes they allocate certain board meetings during the year that will be devoted specifically to education.  Those specific items and those educational topics are usually set forth in the beginning of the year.  Then, specific board meetings are identified that will include the educational topics, and speakers are procured during the year to speak on those particular topics . . .


It is important for board members to be able to self-assess their educational needs vis-a-vis the discussion items that come up during the board meetings that they might be less comfortable with, and communicate those educational needs to the chairman of the board so they get added to the educational agenda.



For a complete list of iProtean courses, click here.


iProtean Symposium & Workshop

Mark the Date!! October 10 – 12, 2012 at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA. Faculty: Barry Bader, Dan Grauman, Marian Jennings and Brian Wong, M.D. For more information, click here.


For more information about iProtean, click here.