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The Official Baldrige Blog

Tips from a Baldrige Award-Winning Hospital on Core Competencies, Strategy, and Innovation

2018 Baldrige Award Recipient Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center photo of a male doctor reviewing x-rays of a female patient.
Credit: Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center
Photo of Denise Kaetzel of MHHCC
Denise Kaetzel, Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, 2018 Baldrige Award Recipient  

Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center (MHHCC) received the Baldrige Award in 2018. Based in Jasper, Indiana, and sponsored by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, this acute care community hospital encompasses 32 outpatient primary and specialty care clinics and medical practices, as well as an ambulance service.

Among its nationally distinguished performance achievements, MHHCC has earned 5-star ratings year after year from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for overall quality of inpatient care, as well as consistently achieving national top-10%, net-positive, value-based-payment performance. MHHCC also has demonstrated excellent performance for patient safety outcomes, including beneficial trends of zero early elective deliveries before 39 weeks, zero pressure ulcers in its skilled caring center, zero central line-associated bloodstream infections, and zero hospital methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. 

I recently asked Denise Kaetzel, MHHCC Director of Organizational Excellence and Quality, a few questions in anticipation of her upcoming presentation at the Baldrige virtual Quest for Excellence® conference. Following are her responses.

Please briefly describe what you’ll cover in your Baldrige conference session on the topic “Leveraging Core Competencies for Strategy and Innovation.”

We will share how our Mission, Core Competencies, and Strategic Planning Process (SPP) are integrated, highlighting the steps of our SPP and how innovation is embedded.

Additionally, we will describe our 90-Day Team/Plan, Do, Check, Act, Evaluate (PDCAE) methodology and how we determine and implement improvements and innovations through use of our Core Competencies.

Would you please share a few examples of beneficial practices related to core competencies, strategy, and innovation?

I recommend these practices for other organizations based on MHHCC’s journey to excellence:

  • Define innovation for your organization; feel free to use the Baldrige definition! (below)

    Innovation: Making meaningful change to improve health care services, processes, the organization, or societal well-being and create new value for stakeholders. Innovation involves adopting an idea, process, technology, service, or business model that is either new or new to its proposed application. The outcome of innovation is a discontinuous or “breakthrough” improvement in results, services, processes, or societal well-being. Innovation benefits from a supportive environment, a process for identifying strategic opportunities, and a willingness to pursue intelligent risks. (From Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. 2021. 2021–2022 Baldrige Excellence Framework: Proven Leadership and Management Practices for High Performance [Health Care]. Gaithersburg, MD: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology.)
  • Determine a process to review/evaluate your Core Competencies.
  • Develop an approach to foster innovation within your improvement methodology.
  • Just start! Your organization is likely being innovative, and the opportunity is how to recognize and capture these improvements, which adds new value for stakeholders.

What are your top tips for introducing or sustaining use of the Baldrige Excellence Framework (including the Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence) to promote a health care organization’s success?

  1. Maintain rigor of processes in strategy and daily work. This fosters continued efficiency and effectiveness to create capacity to take on new challenges, as we all did during the pandemic.
  2. Share knowledge and glean best practices. This is especially important during the pandemic as you are adapting to the constantly changing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your state health department, as well as challenges such as staffing shortages and need to reuse personal protective equipment (PPE).
  3. Provide unrelenting and innovative support for your workforce!
  4. Continue rounding on your workforce and using engagement/safety surveys.

What do you view as key reasons or ways that health care organizations today can benefit from using the Baldrige framework (e.g., based on MHHCC’s experience as a Baldrige Award recipient)?

Among the key benefits we’ve seen at MHHCC are improved and sustained patient outcomes.

Second, the Baldrige framework provides the most in-depth and systematic methodology to assess and ultimately improve every aspect of an organization.

Third, health care organizations that use the Baldrige framework will develop processes to better navigate and thrive in the ever-changing health care environment. 

Join us for our first-ever virtual conference! 

The Quest for Excellence Conference April 3-6, 2022 - Register Today!

Quest for Excellence® Conference

Monday, April 12–Thursday, April 15, 2021

The three-day virtual showcase will feature the 2019 and 2020 Award recipients, former recipients, pre-conference workshops, senior leader plenary sessions with live Q&A, more than 70+ on-demand concurrent sessions, conference keynote, and more!

Register Today! 

Quest Registration Closes:  April 8, 2021

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!).

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