Advisory boards serve as irreplaceable resources, enabling companies and organizations to meet and exceed business goals effectively. These professional groups of industry-specific experts provide critical thinking and invaluable advice that can improve company operations, boost business development efforts, and increase consumer and investor confidence. According to a 2014 BDC report, more than 85% of entrepreneurs with an advisory board noted that it positively impacted their business.
In a large healthcare organization, an advisory board comprised of medical professionals can be influential in various areas, including patient experience, safety standards, and collaboration to improve patient outcomes.
In 2021, my company, Inception Fertility, recognized an opportunity to form an internal board, the Physician Advisory Board (PAB). This committee of reproductive endocrinologists and infertility specialists (REIs) within its global clinical network, The Prelude Network, provides guidance and leadership across Inception Fertility’s ecosystem of brands. The PAB also works collaboratively with Inception’s executive team, which ensures that the committee’s ideas are further developed and implemented in the business.
For large healthcare organizations with varying products and service line offerings across their brand, an internal physician advisory board where members understand all facets of the industry and company can have many benefits. This is an important distinction from various clinical or medical advisory groups in the same healthcare organizations.
• Physician Collaboration
Physician advisory boards allow physicians to discuss emerging trends in their fields, share innovative protocols that have proven successful within their practices, and converse on new studies and research findings that can improve patient care, technologies, and outcomes. This collaboration brings together different perspectives, which can spark solutions — from patient care to clinical operations — that can be implemented across your entire network of clinics. By leveraging the diverse experiences and perspectives of physicians within the advisory boards, the entire organization will benefit from the exchange of ideas and pooling of expertise.
• Safety Standards
Safety in medicine may be the single most crucial factor for any healthcare organization. Informative discussions that analyze your organization’s safety protocols and procedures are imperative to the success of your business. With the collective expertise of medical professionals on an advisory board, guidelines, best practices, and safety protocols can be regularly improved and refined. Advisory boards can also promote a culture of safety through educational resources, workshops, and training materials. Doing so within your network is another opportunity to share best practices that can lead to stronger safety measures and, in turn, more consumer confidence in your brand.
• Recruitment and Mentorship
Patient demands in fertility medicine are increasing, as new reports show that one in six people face infertility globally. Physician recruitment and mentorship are critical to ensuring the growth of the industry and accessibility of fertility care. An internal physician advisory board allows medical professionals to discuss their industry and how to recruit and support new physicians to ensure access to care, including appropriate geographical and patient-doctor ratios.
Creating Your Own PAB
Creating your own PAB should be done with purpose, transparency and an understanding of the objectives of this professional group. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Clarify objectives and scope: Establish clarity on the objectives of your advisory board and the expectations you have of those members. Physician schedules are limited, and their priority is always on patient care. Having a clearly defined mission, goals, and action items utilizes everyone’s time respectfully and provides transparency on the expectations of those involved.
2. Member selection and approval: Craft a shortlist of highly qualified physicians whose expertise aligns with your goals. Because your physician advisory board should work closely with executive team members, and possibly your board of directors, have them review and approve that list.
3. Operational excellence: Once formal invitations have been sent and members have been onboarded, establish a regular meeting cadence, develop a workstream with sub-committees, and establish a structured feedback mechanism. This ensures not only that the board’s recommendations are actionable but also align with your company’s overall strategic initiatives. Schedule periodic reviews to assess the board’s effectiveness. This can provide insight into operational excellence and determine if recalibration within the advisory board is needed.
In a healthcare organization, our strongest voices are those who understand the science, patient needs, and the constantly evolving landscape of their fields. Physicians are those voices, and by engaging them collaboratively, you can move your industry forward and ensure that your organization is leading the charge.
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