This article argues that the current structure of the hospital governing board and medical staff relationship does not support and promote quality and patient-centered care. The fundamental flaw in the current structure is the interdependent, yet independent and discordant relationships between hospital governing boards and medical staffs. These relationships are described as cultures and fit into three types of "silos": organizational (the "structural silo"); professional (the "professional silo", including the "culture of blame"); and the fragmented quality information silo (the "informational silo"). While case law, statutory requirements and regulatory expectations clearly state that governing boards are ultimately responsible for quality of patient care, governing boards delegate these functions to medical staff without having sufficient information to measure and monitor quality. As a result, problems manifest because of these failures of oversight and compliance. Dramatic lapses in quality occur due to overuse, underuse, and misuse of healthcare services. Furthermore, the challenges and opportunities from improved quality and patient safety, as a strategic business driver, cannot be seized until the underlying structural flaws are understood and addressed. This article proposes that solutions become apparent when the various health care constituencies are educated about these cultural impacts and when multidisciplinary bodies, with board leadership and direct authority, integrate and consider quality information.

First Page