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The Official Baldrige Blog

Baldrige Answers to Things Health Care CEOs Need to Know


The Advisory Board recently came out with "The 10 Things CEOs Need to Know in 2015," and much had a direct correlation with the Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Health Care Criteria. Within the Baldrige framework are the requirements that CEOs need to consider to make educated, thoughtful, fact-based decisions to address these things that they need to know. 

For example, #10: "Regardless of structure, the most successful health systems exhibit four hallmarks of ‘systemness.’" According to the Advisory Board, the most cohesive health systems surveyed in the research exhibited four traits:

  • Clearly defined governance structures doing the right things at the right level
  • Hardwired roles and responsibilities for key stakeholders
  • Incentive structures that don’t just support system goals but also don’t encourage counterproductive behavior
  • A free flow of information—not just data, but knowledge and experience—that enables smarter, quicker action

To emphasize its focus on a systems approach, the 2015–2016 Baldrige framework received a subtitle: "A Systems Approach to Improving Your Organization's Performance." A systems perspective means managing all of the components of your organization as a unified whole to achieve your mission, ongoing success, and performance excellence.

Baldrige promotes systems within the framework; the systems' building blocks and integrating mechanism are the framework's core values and concepts, the seven interrelated Criteria categories, and the scoring guidelines. In addition, the linkages among the Criteria categories are an essential part of the systems perspective provided by the Baldrige framework. In the 2015–2016 Baldrige framework, "systems perspective," which is also a core value, has been reordered to be the first core value to emphasize its importance.

#3: "The move to consumer-driven health care is real and here to stay."

#4: "Loyalty is the right paradigm for defining success."

According to the Advisory Board, "With such a large financial stake in their health care, consumers will become more important as decision makers. Hospitals and health systems must be prepared to win consumers’ favor. . .  Loyalty matters because consumers are faced with ever growing choices about where they should spend their health care dollars."

The Baldrige framework has a category on customers that asks health care organizations to consider how they engage their patients and other customers for long-term marketplace success, including how organizations listen to their voices, build relationships with them, and use their information to improve and identify opportunities for innovation. Of paramount importance are patient satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and engagement, including how organizations enable patients and other customers to seek information and support, and identify and adapt service offerings to attract new patients and expand relationships with current ones. In addition, the word "loyalty" appears several times in the Health Care Criteria, including in the concept of "brand loyalty."

#8: "Coordinated, integrated care can differentiate hospitals from narrowly focused competitors."

In contrast to narrowly focused health care start-ups, "health systems have the combination of comprehensive clinical service and the care coordination that allows them to deliver a low-cost health care product to the market," writes the Advisory Board.

Anyone who knows the Baldrige framework knows that "integration" is a key evaluation factor of both processes (that are evaluated for their approach, deployment, learning, and integration) and results (that are evaluated for their levels, trends, comparisons, and integration). Baldrige defines integration as the harmonization of plans, processes, information, resource decisions, workforce capability and capacity, actions, results, and analyses to support key organization-wide goals. Effective integration goes beyond alignment and is achieved when the individual components of an organizational performance management system operate as a fully interconnected unit. The word integration appears 37 times in the Health Care Criteria, across categories and core values, forcing readers to really think about how services, plans, decisions, etc., are integrated for comprehensive service and care coordination.

How else do you see ways that the "The 10 Things CEOs Need to Know in 2015" can be addressed through considerations found in the Baldrige Excellence Framework?

About the author

Dawn Bailey

Dawn Bailey is a writer/editor for the Baldrige Program and involved in all aspects of communications, from leading the Baldrige Executive Fellows program to managing the direction of case studies, social media efforts, and assessment teams. She has more than 25 years of experience, 18 years at the Baldrige Program. Her background is in English and journalism, with degrees from the University of Connecticut and an advanced degree from George Mason University.

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I think it is important that we point out to the readers of this posting that "The Advisory Board" referenced in this Blogrige posting is The Advisory Board Company, a research, technology, and consulting firm, so readers don't confuse them with other "advisory boards."

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