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The Official Baldrige Blog

Fanfare for Baldrige in Health Care


In January 2015, the 2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care)—which contains the Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and scoring guidelines—will be released. The Baldrige Program is grateful that there has already been much written about the value of using this Criteria for improvement.

"Baldrige hospitals are . . .  more likely to be cited for marked performance improvement over a five-year span," writes Deborah Bowen, president and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives and Baldrige Fellow. In "Using Baldrige Criteria as a Tool for Hospitals' Performance Improvement," Bowen writes that thousands of hospitals, clinics, and health care systems have turned to the Health Care Criteria "with its established framework for improvement and innovation that builds on core values and concepts, including: patient-focused excellence; organizational and personal learning; agility; and focus on results and creating value. . . . It is clear the Baldrige framework can be useful in enhancing systemic performance and achieving better results. . . . A key component is the importance of sharing best practices and learning from those who have achieved systematic results."

Bowen adds, "Boards also can encourage their organizations to learn from others and adopt performance improvement processes using such resources as the Baldrige Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence, because there is still much work to be done to improve the outcomes of health care for patients, families, and our communities."

In "What About Lousy Hospitals?," John Griffith, professor emeritus, Department of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, The University of Michigan, writes, "Hospitals seeking excellence are pursuing various paths, but the best documented and most comprehensive is the 'Baldrige journey.' . . . Baldrige recipients and Magnet hospitals claim that they are 'great places to get care' because they are 'great places to give care.' Both document low workforce turnover and vacancy rates. . . . Hospitals such as AtlantiCare in Atlantic City, Henry Ford in Detroit, Sharp in San Diego, and North Mississippi in Tupelo all work in challenging economic environments. They are all Baldrige winners. Maybe the 'lousy' hospitals should study the public responses and start the Baldrige journey? It takes as little as three years to move from lousy to respectable or better."

In "Correlation Between Baldrige Award Recipients and 100 Top Hospitals Winners," Truven Health's Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president, Performance Improvement and 100 Top Hospitals, writes, "Once again, the selection of St. David’s HealthCare and Hill Country Memorial as 2014 Malcolm Baldrige Award winners and performance on the 100 Top Hospitals® National Balanced Scorecard overlap . . . a significant statistical association between use of Baldrige best management practices and highly balanced performance excellence. . . .  This is all very good news for measurement of the impact of leadership in hard data."

As for any organization, its best testimonials come from its customers. Thankfully, the two 2014 Baldrige Award winners in health care have embraced the Baldrige spirit of improvement and sharing. In "Baldrige Awards are Just the Icing on the Cake for 2014 Winners," both Hill Country Memorial and St. David’s HealthCare write that participating in the Baldrige Award process brought them improvement:

"We never got on this journey to win—though that's amazing and we're super-excited—it was to improve," says Debbye Dooley, executive director of business intelligence for Hill Country Memorial.

C. David Huffstutler, president and CEO for St. David's HealthCare, adds, "Obviously, our organization, our employees, our physicians are delighted. It’s something we’ve been working toward for a long time. . . . Though we have said from the beginning, while it would be nice to win the award, it really has been about the Baldrige process, and using it as a performance improvement tool."

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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