Inscribed on the Baldrige Award medallion are the words “The Quest for Excellence.” Besides being the name of the Baldrige national conference that highlights winning organizations, those words have real meaning.
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines a quest as an "act of seeking," in this case excellence. ("Quest" is also "a chivalrous enterprise in medieval romance usually involving an adventurous journey," but that is a different blog.) Oxford Dictionary defines quest as "a search for something." I also found this definition in an academic resource: "an exciting search involving an adventurous journey."
Why did your organization get engaged in the Baldrige Excellence Framework (i.e., Baldrige Criteria)? In other words, what was the hook?
After a board visioning retreat in 2010, we began exploring the Baldrige Award as a means of supporting our pursuit of high quality through the eyes of the patient. We began to build an integrated health care delivery system with a focus on providing the care we would want for our loved ones and measuring everything in terms of Four Aims: Better Health (outcomes), Better Care (experience), Least Waste, and More Joy (for those providing the care).
We selected the Baldrige Excellence Framework to help guide our work and set our goal to achieve the award, the highest national recognition for quality. We began to study the Criteria and the Baldrige Core Values [within the framework], and we spent time learning concepts such as ADLI [approach, deployment, learning, and integration] and LeTCI [levels, trends, comparisons, and integration]!
Why did you stay involved?
When we submitted our first application in 2013 to our state program, we discovered the richness of receiving and applying the feedback report [received after submitting an application at the state/local or national levels] in helping us improve as an organization. We were hooked!
We learned so much through attending the Quest for Excellence conferences, studying other award-recipient organizations, and attending their sharing days. Several of us became national Baldrige Examiners to become more immersed in the Criteria, which helped immensely as we developed and implemented systematic processes and used ADLI as part of our everyday language.
As those processes became aligned and integrated throughout the organization, we found we were moving closer to achieving our goals. Our first national site visit was an exciting turning point for us. It was a tremendous learning experience and fueled us to continue to get better.
This is an ongoing improvement journey that is helping us achieve our goals and objectives. The Baldrige Framework has become a way of life for us.
How did the Baldrige Framework help during the pandemic in 2020?
As we were writing our 2020 application, the COVID pandemic was starting. The systematic processes we had developed and refined over the years, and our core competency of Redesigning Care, were instrumental in allowing us to effectively respond to the constantly changing requirements of our workforce, patients, and community, as well as the rapidly changing regulatory guidelines.
Examples of our responses include the following:
Through it all, we met the needs of our community, ensured adequate supplies for our workforce, and stayed financially strong. Our application of the Baldrige framework over the years allowed us to “grow” through the pandemic rather than just “go” through it!
What quest is your organization on?
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