There is now a heightened interest on the part of many Canadian healthcare boards in improving processes for assuring quality and safety. This interest has been driven by a number of reports and studies which have identified significant quality and safety issues and the need for greater attention to these by those who lead, including governing boards. Despite progress by some boards, there are those who continue to struggle with their role and how it should be fulfilled. This article addresses why, above all else, quality and safety require greater board attention, precisely what boards should do to fulfill their role and how they should organize themselves to achieve it. Special emphasis is placed on how the boards' role in quality and safety, if properly fulfilled, can and will have a beneficial impact on outcomes.
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