Supervisory Boards: High impact, too little expertise

Jul 18, 2016 | Deutsche Ärzteblatt

Boards of directors in healthcare have a great influence, especially on budget and personnel decisions. They are below average, not paid compared to similar positions in other sectors in many cases. And: The expertise to hospital-specific topics is in supervisory boards "partially rather weak". These are the findings of the first nationwide study on the situation of supervisory boards in health care, the consulting firm DHR International Neumann has done. For the study, "The role of the Supervisory Boards in Healthcare" 244 supervisory board members were contacted. Focus of the survey were chairman of academic, non-profit and community clinics. Focus of the study focused on the four areas "Relation of management / control intensity", "cast processes", "relation to management" and "acceptance and perception in the organization".

"The study results clearly show that a fundamental discussion of the role of the Supervisory Board in healthcare is really necessary," concluded Patrick A. Haberland, who is responsible for the study at DHR International Neumann. He stressed at the moment there is a two-part tension between promoting the general interest and economic design standards. From the perspective of DHR there mainly for improvement in the areas of strategy, transparency and training. "This includes a closer exchange between supervisory boards and employees of a health care organization to address, for example, negative developments in terms of an early warning system," Haberland said. The staff, experts point out that expertise in supervisory boards can not be an absolute requirement. It is therefore necessary to qualify multiple foreign supervisory boards in health industry and medicine. This was a "crucial area".

Further results:

  • Supervisory boards keep their role clearly defined, bringing strongly into the daily business and take on the role of the decision only in exceptional cases. They are generally satisfied with their work.
  • Focus areas are reporting, crisis management, personnel decisions and strategic issues. The greater the influence of the Supervisory Board on the strategic planning of an operation, the better falls out the bottom line.
  • The cooperation with the management is based on trust. Hospitals, where cooperation between management and supervisory board is successful, achieve better business results.
  • The visibility of the Supervisory Board in the workforce is rather low. EB

For the full Deutsche Ärzteblatt in German, please click here. 

For Patrick A. Haberland's full study, The role of supervisory boards in German healthcare, pleasee click here.