Document Type: Commentary
Canada Research Chair in Governance and Transformation of Health Organizations and Systems, École nationale d’administration publique, Montréal, QC, Canada
Health Innovation Forum, Montréal, QC, Canada
Institute for Strategic Analysis and Innovation, McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, QC, Canada
École nationale d’administration publique, Montréal, QC, Canada
In their 2016 article, Saltman and Duran provide a thoughtful examination of the governance challenges involved in different care delivery models adopted in primary care and hospitals in two European countries. This commentary examines the limited potential of structural changes to achieve real reform and considers that, unless governance arrangements actually succeed in penetrating organizations, they are unlikely to improve care. It proposes three sets of levers influenced by governance that have potential to influence what happens at the point of care: harnessing the autonomy and expertise of professionals at a collective level to work towards better safety and quality; creating enabling contexts for cross-fertilization of clinical and organizational expertise, notably through teamwork; and patient and public engagement to achieve greater agreement on improvement priorities and overcome provider/manager tensions. Good governance provides guidance at a distance but also goes deep enough to influence clinical habits.