For health systems, nimble management practices can make a difference in improved decision-making – not to mention patient care and safety.

With the appearance of new infections and the need for up-to-date information and action, real-time decision-making is more important than ever. Putting a new policy in place or making changes to an existing policy can take from six months to a year, due to the lengthy review process by committees. Delays can mean missed opportunities and put patient safety at risk.

A recent report in Hospitals & Health Network discusses the downfalls of lengthy and complex decision-making. The report also offers reasons why hospitals should move from a complex committee structure to a system of nimble decision-making, summarized here.

  1. Manage Complexity. The mandate for hospitals is to ensure the flow of information from major committees – the quality committee, medical executive committee and board of trustees – to the governing body. But complications and delays can arise when these major committees grant approval privileges to lower committees.
  2. Save Time. Because committees usually meet just once a month, the approval process can be a tedious journey for the requesting committee. Hospitals can expedite the approval process by setting aside one day a month for all committee reporting and giving representatives approval privileges.
  3. Set Limits. If a committee has been formed to solve a particular problem, it should be formed with the understanding that an automatic stop date has been set. Hospital leaders ought to think about how many people actually need to review and sign off on a particular issue.
  4. Challenge the Status Quo. It’s hard for hospitals to abolish a committee that is no longer functioning. Change is difficult and almost always resisted. But as the committee system becomes less complex, the risk for patients will be reduced.

Hospitals & Health Networks concludes that going from complex committees to a system of nimble decision-making requires strong CEOs and administrative teams committed to advancing hospitals in the fast-paced healthcare world. Take a closer look at how hospitals can benefit from more streamlined decision-making.