Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


The Official Baldrige Blog

Tips from Baldrige Award-Winning Health Care Organizations

Photo of group of smiling Schneck employees at work

Photo used with permission.

Credit: Schneck Medical Center

I’ve compiled the following tips from interviews of presenters at the Baldrige Program’s 26th Annual Quest for Excellence® conference.


How to Partner with a Competitor to Achieve Clinical Integration:

  • Build a foundation of trust and open communication.
  • Start with a common goal and shared vision and work from there.
  • Bring in a nonbiased third party to help with facilitation and building the infrastructure.

These tips are from Tammy Dye, vice president of clinical services and chief quality officer, and Suki Wright, director of organizational excellence and innovation, at Schneck Medical Center, 2011 Baldrige Award recipient, health care). 

How to Foster Physician Leadership:

  • Appoint a physician champion who is a trusted peer to recruit physicians within the organization to invest in leadership training.
  • Emphasize a mission of improving patient care and the increased personal effectiveness of the leadership-trained individual to make a positive difference.
  • Have physicians see that previously trained physicians behave differently and have demonstrated success and recognition as a result of their training.

These tips are from Dr. Brian Condit, director of the Physician Leadership Institute at North Mississippi Health Services (2012 Baldrige Award recipient, health care). 


How to Improve Processes Using the Baldrige Criteria and Magnet:

  • Focus on the concept that both the Baldrige Criteria and Magnet are based on evidence-based practice; they learn from each other.
  • Emphasize that both the Baldrige Criteria and Magnet are grounded in what is best for the patient, which creates purpose and pride in the workforce.
  • When developing committee structure, capitalize on your existing committees. Keep in mind that both the Baldrige Criteria and Magnet are based on a foundation of having structure, process, and outcomes; those three premises work together for both the Baldrige Criteria and Magnet.
  • Use one process improvement methodology when making improvements identified by the Baldrige Criteria and by Magnet; then involve nursing and non-nursing staff members in both to get the benefit of differing perspectives.
  • Crosswalk your responses in applications for both Magnet and the Baldrige Award. Crosswalks are cost-effective and are an additional way to identify best practices.

These tips are from Donna Poduska, chief nursing officer, and Priscilla Nuwash, system director for performance excellence, at University of Colorado Health (which now encompasses Poudre Valley Health System, 2008 Baldrige Award recipient, health care). 

How to Use Lean Methodology to Address the Baldrige Criteria:

  • Use Kanban (Lean scheduling system) or 2-bin system (Lean inventory control system) as a systematic approach to controlling the costs of supplies in response to Criteria item 6.2, which asks how organizations control the costs of operations).
  • Use visual management to ensure that the day-to-day operation of work processes meet requirements and lead to the in-process measures used to control and improve those processes (Criteria item, 6.1b).
  • Standard work, a foundational concept of Lean, is a simple, written description of the safest, highest-quality, most-efficient way known to perform a task or achieve an outcome. Use standard work in both clinical and nonclinical areas for deploying key processes, in order to reduce variability from caregiver to caregiver.

These tips are from Pattie Skriba, vice president of business excellence at Advocate Good Samaritan (2010 Baldrige Award recipient, health care). 


How to Benefit from the Voice of the Customer:

  • Foster a shared relationship between the customer and organization.
  • Provide customers with feedback opportunities before and after their health care visits and even after hours.
  • Create more than one way to listen to customers, for example, utilizing technology to improve how to listen.

These tips are from Crystal Lewis, improvement specialist at Southcentral Foundation (2011 Baldrige Award recipient, health care). 

About the author

Christine Schaefer

Christine Schaefer is a longtime staff member of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP). Her work has focused on producing BPEP publications and communications. She also has been highly involved in the Baldrige Award process, Baldrige examiner training, and other offerings of the program.

She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar and a double major, receiving highest distinction for her thesis in the interdisciplinary Political & Social Thought Program. She also has a master's degree from Georgetown University, where her studies and thesis focused on social and public policy issues. 

When not working, she sits in traffic in one of the most congested regions of the country, receives consolation from her rescued beagles, writes poetry, practices hot yoga, and tries to cultivate a foundation for three kids to direct their own lifelong learning (and to PLEASE STOP YELLING at each other—after all, we'll never end wars if we can't even make peace at home!).

Related posts


Add new comment

Enter the characters shown in the image.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Please be respectful when posting comments. We will post all comments without editing as long as they are appropriate for a public, family friendly website, are on topic and do not contain profanity, personal attacks, misleading or false information/accusations or promote specific commercial products, services or organizations. Comments that violate our comment policy or include links to non-government organizations/web pages will not be posted.