Increasingly, health systems working to assemble high-functioning steering committees to guide their virtual care strategy and service, but overall the industry is lagging behind in creating the cross-functional teams needed to drive virtual care success. Part of what is holding health systems back may be the challenges surrounding identifying and assembling a virtual care steering committee. Great news: here are a few simple steps you can take to make sure your steering committee is set up for success.
1. Get Representation from All Key Stakeholder Groups
Virtual care is optimally part of a larger digital health and patient experience strategy, and bringing together key stakeholders across the organization is key to ensuring the right voices are heard. At a minimum, this means representation from any effected care specialties, clinical leadership, IT/technology, strategic leadership, and a liaison from the day-to-day operations team.
2. Identify and Invite Your Champions
In every organization there are people who are excited about new initiatives. Seek out your virtual care champions for your steering committee. The people who see the possibility and potential of virtual care are fit guardians for your virtual care service and strategy. They’re also the people who will go to bat for virtual care, and be willing to spend the time necessary to make sure your organization gets it right.
3. Have Clear Goals and Responsibilities
Clarity is the key to your steering committee’s success. Do you want your steering committee laser focused on strategy or do you want the members to hold responsibility for operations? Do you want them to make decisions or provide recommendations? Will the committee set goals for your virtual care program or merely be responsible for achieving them?
To help make sure that your organization and committee members know what’s expected, create a committee charter that outlines the precise level and limits of authority, areas of responsibility, and committee objectives. Then, review the charter on a regular basis – annually works well – to make sure it still aligns with what your organization needs.
4. Include Decision-Making Power
A committee that can’t take action isn’t going to do your health system or your virtual care service much good. Within the defined goals and responsibilities, make sure that there are members empowered to take action and affect changes. Virtual care is an investment, and a steering committee needs to have the authority to allocate budget to achieve your health system’s virtual care goals.
5. Avoid Groupthink
This ties back to best practice #2, but make sure you have different voices on your steering committee. A group working closely together needs to include diverse opinions and ways of thinking to avoid the dreaded groupthink. While champions are valuable, so are voices of doubt – even dissent. When assembling your virtual care steering committee, make sure to include at least one person who will pressure-test ideas and ask the tough questions necessary to ensure your program’s success.