Criteria designed to help education and health care organizations improve their services were announced today by the Commerce Department s National Institute of Standards and Technology. The criteria are part of pilot programs to help determine whether the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award should be expanded to include categories for education and health care.
"Both the education and health care communities are anxious to benefit from the quality lessons learned in the business community," said Curt Reimann, director of the Baldrige award program at NIST. With experts from these two sectors, NIST developed education and health care criteria based on the current Baldrige award criteria.
"The criteria broadly define the practices that any organization, not just business, need to achieve excellence," said Reimann. "They focus on results, not just on the tools or techniques that an organization should use to achieve the results," he said.
The pilot criteria will help education and health care organizations improve performance; will facilitate communication and sharing of "best practices"; and will foster partnerships involving schools, businesses, health care organizations, human services agencies and others, said Reimann.
As part of the pilot programs, schools and health care organizations are invited to submit applications. All applications will be reviewed by a private-sector team of evaluators, and each applicant will receive written feedback. There is no application fee. Applications are due May 8, 1995. No awards will be presented in 1995 in these pilot categories.
Whether to proceed with a full-scale award program for education and health care categories will depend on many factors, said Reimann, including a successful trial, continuing support from these two sectors and long-term funding.
The Baldrige Quality Award was established in 1987 to promote the importance of quality improvement to the U.S. economy, to recognize quality achievements of U.S. companies and to publicize successful quality strategies. The criteria for the award are designed to help companies deliver ever-improving value to customers and improve overall company performance and capabilities.
Seven broad categories make up the business criteria: leadership, information and analysis, strategic planning, human resource development and management, process management, business results, and customer focus and satisfaction. They have become widely accepted as the standard for performance excellence. Almost 1 million copies of the criteria have been distributed.
Single copies of the health care and education pilot criteria as well as the 1995 award criteria for business are available free of charge from NIST by phone (301) 975-2036 or fax (301) 948-3716.
A non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards. NIST was selected by Congress to design and manage the award program because of its role in helping U.S. companies compete, its world-renowned expertise in measurement and its reputation as an impartial third party.