In this five-part blog series on the 2018 Baldrige Award recipients’ leadership presentations at the 31st Annual Quest for Excellence® Conference (April 7–10, 2019), senior leaders of the five newest national role models share best practices and stories of how they achieved excellence.
To relieve the critical shortage of beds in its rural Indiana area, Memorial Hospital opened its doors in 1951 for patients across eight counties. The Little Company of Mary Sisters set the direction in how the hospital cares for patients and each other, following the mission: “Christ’s healing mission of compassion empowers us to be for others through quality and excellence.”
Now recognized nationally as a top regional hospital, Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center offers 137 patient beds and employs more than 1,700 staff members, with 100 physicians as active medical staff. Memorial also has 32 medical offices strategically located in its service area, annually providing care to 6,500 inpatients; 260,000 outpatients; 3,000 emergency patients; and 1,000 newborns.
According to Kyle Bennett, president and CEO, two constants have helped the hospital reach role-model status: the commitment and support of the Little Company of Mary Sisters and community support.
“In order to bring care closer to where we are, we develop relationships,” said Bennett, speaking proudly of Memorial’s many collaborations, including opening a clinic in an Amish community, developing a tele-stroke inpatient program in collaboration with the University of Louisville, and partnering with the Indiana University School of Medicine to develop a family medicine residency program to open in summer 2019.
Because of this program, “the access to primary care [will change] for many years into the future for our service area,” he said.
“Employers and the business community look to us to be a strong health care provider, and we knew seven years ago that we needed to make some improvements in order to sustain and be the care provider that we needed to be for the communities we serve,” said Bennett.
In looking for ways to sustain and inspire improvements, he said the hospital realized that the Baldrige framework aligned with its mission.
“The benefits that we’ve realized have helped us define what excellence is to us for the communities we serve,” he said. “[The framework has] helped us create discipline around our processes, improved our financial performance, and improved our focus on key quality metrics.”
Bennett said adopting the framework came with some struggles. “When we began, trying to apply the Baldrige framework was for me nothing short of awkward. It felt like something else that we had to do. I could answer the ‘what’ questions [in the Baldrige Criteria], but I really couldn’t answer ‘how’ questions. We hadn’t really defined our processes.”
“Thankfully, today the framework is how we do our work,” Bennett added.
“We knew that to make any sustainable, meaningful change, there had to be deliberate change among senior leaders,” said Bennett, so the hospital developed a Servant Leadership System, with an emphasis on building its culture.
Bennett said senior leaders knew that they needed to model the attributes of a servant’s heart (words around the circle in the graphic): selflessness, forgiveness, honesty, commitment, patience, kindness, humility, and respect.
According to Bennett, the blue circles on the graphic are leadership goals (e.g., set organization direction/determine priorities, engage the workforce, monitor performance), and the triangle at the heart of the model, which lists the mission, vision, core values, covenants, and core competencies, represents the building blocks of culture.
According to Bennett, Memorial Hospital knows that the keys to its success are related to its focus on the mission, a committed workforce, and disciple around the strategic planning process.
“Those things have been integral to us over our journey,” said Bennett. “We work to live our mission every day. It’s the foundation of all we do. And we consistently return to it as we seek discernment and perspective.”
Similarly, workforce members are “empowered to be and to act,” said Bennett, adding that a no-pass zone at the hospital requires that all patients and their families, as well as all workforce members, are greeted at the front door.
“Our workforce is key to building and sustaining our culture,” he said.
Memorial Hospital’s results have helped propel it to national role-model status. Results include the following:
“Thirty-seven,” added Bennett, “That’s how many [opportunities for improvement] we had in our feedback report [received with its Baldrige Award application]. . . . We realize that we’re the recipient of this wonderful award. Our patients are the recipients of the care we provide. . . . The quality that we provide can get better, and those 37 things will help us get there.”
View more processes and results of Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center.
Integrated Project Management Company, Inc. (Small Business)
The Baldrige Excellence Framework has empowered organizations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive. It includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and guidelines for evaluating your processes and results.