Insight

Healthcare boards look toward a very different future

Healthcare boards shape strategies around consumerism, attrition, and ESG issues from climate change to boardroom diversity.

Marc Scher

Marc Scher

Partner, National Audit Leader, Life Sciences, KPMG US

+1 949-885-5402

Ash Shehata

Ash Shehata

Principal, National Sector Leader for HCLS, KPMG US

+1 513-763-2428

As healthcare organizations reposition themselves for a post-pandemic future, it is increasingly clear that the most resilient will have a clear strategy for building on industry changes wrought by the pandemic and burgeoning consumerism. Even as staffing shortages, supply-chain bottlenecks, and regulatory uncertainty put corporate governance processes to the test, healthcare boards must still answer the call of stakeholders from patients to payers to investors who demand action on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance across climate risk; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); and cybersecurity.

In this paper, KPMG highlights the following key issues for healthcare boards to keep in mind as they refine their 2022 agendas:

  • Bring healthcare into the future by:
    • Engaging in the corporate strategy required to build on industry changes driven by the pandemic and consumerism
    • Addressing staff retention by closely monitoring the culture of the organization
  • Embed ESG in risk and strategy discussions by:
    • Being a leader in climate change and positioning these efforts as a competitive advantage
    • Committing to social goals like health equity, as well as diversity in the boardroom, as means to greater growth and transformation
    • Addressing cybersecurity and data privacy holistically as data governance since healthcare organizations have become a prime target for cyber-crime

Although all these issues are critical, one stands out as having particular urgency: fostering diversity in the composition of the board itself. Investors, regulators, and other stakeholders are increasingly focused on the alignment of board composition with organizations’ strategies – with diversity front and center. The push for better and more transparent diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts has broadened beyond a focus on boardroom gender diversity to include diversity of race, ethnicity, and experience at all levels of the organization. Infusing DEI throughout the healthcare organization can have an impact on many of the board’s imperatives including improving consumer experience, staff retention, and quality of care.

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