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Baldrige FAQs: Health Care and Education

Baldrige Program/Award | Apply for Award | Award Recipients | Examiners | Framework | Involving Senior Leaders | Health Care/Education | Critiera/ISO | Miscellaneous

How does Baldrige compare to accreditation by organizations (e.g., the Joint Commission, National Committee for Quality Assurance, and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools)? What is the value of Baldrige for a health care or education organization?

Baldrige is focused on performance excellence and setting stretch standards. Accreditation is focused on setting the base standards that all organizations must meet to be considered acceptable providers of health care or education services. All organizations must be accredited; only role-model organizations will achieve Baldrige recognition. Nevertheless, a Baldrige self-assessment will help all organizations proceed beyond accreditation to setting excellence goals—and improve the whole organization.  Incidentally, some accreditation organizations (e.g., DNV GL-Healthcare, the Joint Commission, and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs) are incorporating elements of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence into their assessments.

Why should education or health care be different from service industries?  

Results from the 1995 Baldrige pilot program indicated that education and health care organizations are very similar to other service organizations. In fact, for-profit health care and education organizations were eligible to apply for the Baldrige Award in the service category before 1999 and continue to be eligible in that category. The purpose of separate Baldrige Criteria is to facilitate understanding of the Baldrige framework in a health care or education setting. The sector-specific Baldrige Criteria are neither less rigorous nor more challenging, but the language has been adapted to fit organizations in these sectors.

Why should an education or health care organization consider Baldrige?  

Health Care
Service providers, single hospitals, and large health systems nationwide use the Criteria to improve their operations and sustain world-class results; they are looking for ways to improve safety and outcomes, while reducing cost.

  • A study published in Quality Management Journal found that 34 U.S. health care organizations receiving the Baldrige Award matched or exceeded their 153 geographically closest competitors in measures of health care quality and outperformed them in measures of favorable patient experience.
  • A study by Truven Health Analytics links hospitals that adopt and use the Baldrige Criteria to successful operations, management practices, and overall performance.
  • 65% of hospitals are likely to "use the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence as a systematic framework for performance improvement or as an internal assessment tool" by 2018, according to survey results reported in Futurescan 2013.
  • According to the same survey, 41% of hospitals are likely to submit an application for the Baldrige Award or a state-level Baldrige-based award by 2018.

Several additional resources are available for health care organizations.

Education organizations such as business schools, community colleges, universities, and K-12 school districts use the Baldrige Criteria to improve their schools and their students' education. Often these schools find that the Baldrige focus on improved productivity and effectiveness, as well as measurement, across the organization results in improved student learning and other outcomes, including budgetary, financial, and market results.

  • "The Baldrige Program: Self-Assessment for Continuous Improvement"  in Principal magazine follows three disparate public school districts that use the Baldrige framework to impact student achievement.
  • According to "Measuring What Matters Most" in Education Week, the Baldrige framework provides guidance on the measurement of an entire school "system".
  • Many colleges, universities, and business schools teach the Criteria as a management/self-assessment tool.

Several additional resources are available for education organizations.

How many education and health care Baldrige Award recipients are there?

As of the end of 2015 award cycle, there were 11 education and 20 health care Baldrige Award recipients.


2001 Pearl River School District, Chugach School District, University of Wisconsin-Stout

2003 Community Consolidated School District 15

2004 Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business

2005 Jenks Public Schools, Richland College

2008 Iredell-Statesville Schools

2010 Montgomery County Public Schools

2013 Pewaukee School District

2015 Charter School of San Diego

Health Care

2002 SSM Health Care

2003 Baptist Hospital, Inc., Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City

2004 Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton

2005 Bronson Methodist Hospital

2006 North Mississippi Medical Center

2007 Mercy Health System, Sharp HealthCare

2008 Poudre Valley Health System

2009 AtlantiCare, Heartland Health

2010 Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital

2011 Henry Ford Health System, Schneck Medical Center, Southcentral Foundation

2012 North Mississippi Health Services

2013 Sutter Davis Hospital

2014 Hill Country Memorial, St. David's Healthcare

2015 Charleston Area Medical Center Health System


  • Baldrige Customer Service
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    Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1020
Created October 26, 2010, Updated November 15, 2019