Concurrent Sessions

F4-b – 21 Questions Healthcare Boards Should Be Asking About Risk

Theme 4. The “How to” stream

  • Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018
  • Concurrent Session F
  • Time: 12:00-12:45pm
  • Room:
  • Style: Workshop (session is structure for interaction and/or hands-on learning opportunities)
  • Focus: Balance between both (e.g. Presentation of a best-practice guideline that combines research evidence, policy issues and practical steps for implementation)
  • Target Audience: Leadership (ED, clinical lead, board chair, board member, etc.)

Learning Objectives

By the end of the session, the participant will:

  • Understand the board’s role in operationalizing the oversight, coordination, and reporting of risk
  • Know 21 questions that should be asked by healthcare boards of senior leaders
  • Be familiar with related resources and tools to ensure effective oversight of integrated risk management


Drawing on strong ethical and evidence-based principles, a list of guiding questions has been developed to help boards of healthcare organizations carry out a critical governance function – the oversight of key organizational risks. There is growing awareness that in order to achieve an organization’s key mandate – that of the provision of high quality care, leaders must be aware of the risks within their organization and develop strategies to mitigate these risks through organized, integrated risk management programs.

The governing body ultimately carries a fiduciary responsibility for all aspects of the healthcare organization’s business operations and clinical care. The board can create the winning conditions for change through oversight of the organization’s effective and robust risk management program.

Healthcare boards often lack guidance on what they should ask senior leaders about risk.  The objective of this workshop is for the participant to be able to identify the types of questions that healthcare boards should be asking about risk. The questions ensure alignment with healthcare organizations’ strategic objectives and core business which is patient care.

The questions align with a framework that looks at what can go wrong, the likelihood and impact of these risks, and the need for action. The framework incorporates the need for alignment with vision, strategy, and objectives.  While boards are responsible for oversight of risk management, senior leaders must take ownership and lead risk reporting and monitoring. Previously questions have been developed for not-for-profit sectors, this list of 21 questions is the first specific to healthcare.


  • Annette Down, MHSA, CHE, Senior Healthcare Risk Management Specialist, Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada
  • Lori Borovoy, Senior Healthcare Risk Management Specialist, Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada


  • Jordan Willcox, Enterprise Risk Management Consultant, William Osler Health System