Why the American Hospital Association (AHA) believes that using the Baldrige Health Care Criteria can help hospitals get better faster was explained recently in an audio podcast by Gene O’Dell, vice president for strategic planning and performance excellence for AHA.
“From a hospital perspective, using the Baldrige model can help you achieve better patient satisfaction, clinical outcomes that are aligned with patient requirements, workforce satisfaction, . . . greater efficiencies and operational performance, and improved execution of your strategies," said O'Dell.
AHA, which is a sponsor of the 2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care), sees the Baldrige sponsorship in alignment with its own performance excellence journey, Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence Initiative, and strategic plan, including strategies to reduce cost and improve care and population health. As a framework sponsor, AHA provided a digital copy of the framework to all of its members and encourages its use for improvement.
"Baldrige is the overall organizing framework that can identify where there are problems," said O'Dell. "Think of Baldrige like a map that will show the organization where . . . Six Sigma, Lean, and other tools should be deployed. . . . If an organization deploys [such tools] without an overall map as Baldrige, it would be like taking a trip in a car but not having a map to know the way."
According to O'Dell, organizations—no matter their size or the type of services they offer—can use the Baldrige framework to answer three simple questions:
"Baldrige helps you to integrate the organization to better align a patient’s requirements with the systems that will deliver what patients want and ensure those are linked to clinical outcomes," he said. "Baldrige helps focus you on the core values, giving you a systems perspective that is process dependent, not people dependent; visionary leadership, with leaders focused on the future and changing the business model not just running the business. But [the Baldrige framework] has a patient-focused excellence component, too, delivering ever-improving, high-quality health care to patients. And it also really values people. An engaged workforce that finds personal meaning and motivation in their work, and when they receive positive interpersonal and workplace support this really improves the entire organization."
Added O'Dell, “When you speak with Baldrige Award winners, while they’re honored to have received the award, the real reward is how the process has improved and continues to improve their organizations. . . . Because, you see, pursuing performance improvement is not a destination, it’s but a journey, and more importantly you don’t have to apply for an award to get started in evaluating your organization and identifying areas for improvement."