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The Official Baldrige Blog

Building Excellence . . . While Winning Award


Two recent articles on Baldrige Award recipient Charleston Area Medical Center Health System (CAMCHS) illustrate a continuous improvement journey that has benefited the system with a lot more than just an award.

“Prestigious Award Program Offers Hospitals a Framework for Bolstering Quality” by Jon Asplund explains how CAMCHS, which operates four hospitals, a foundation, a health and education research institute, and physician clinics, used the Criteria that serve as the Baldrige Award application as a tool to aid in its transition to value-based, quality-driven health care and as a leadership and management guide.

The Baldrige process gave CAMCHS “an overarching framework for the system, not just quality measurements,” said system CEO Dave Ramsey. “Having clinical outcome quality was a given, but Baldrige added ways to achieve quality in our support of the community, our working relationship with vendors, our relationship with the medical staff, medical researchers, and the workforce—pretty much everything.”

In his 30-plus years working in the health care field, CAMCHS’s Chief Quality Officer Dale Wood added that he’s never seen a process in which he’s learned so much about building quality excellence. “It’s remarkable,” he said. “The award itself will drive your quality program.”

“Baldrige Award Winner Uses Holistic Approach,” also by Jon Asplund, outlines how the health system has used the Baldrige Award Criteria as a validation of its continuous improvement efforts.

“We started learning about Baldrige 10 years ago,” Ramsey said. “The Baldrige framework gave us an opportunity to engage the entire organization. So, the award is a nice validation for the quality system we’ve been able to instill.”

Charleston Area Medical Center is the largest nongovernmental employer in its region and is an important regional provider. “We are key to the community, the economy, the business climate, the workforce, and more,” said Ramsey. “We just feel an absolute responsibility to be the best we can be.”

Along with the other 2015 Baldrige Award recipients, MidwayUSACharter School of San Diego, and Mid-America Transplant, CAMCHS will receive the Baldrige Award at a national ceremony on April 3.

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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