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Baldrige Performance Excellence Guide Can Help Health Care Organizations Improve Their Operations

Criteria designed to help health care organizations improve their services and overall performance are available now from the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

As a self-assessment tool, the Baldrige Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence can help a health care organization measure performance and target opportunities for improvement in seven key areas:

  • leadership;
  • strategic planning;
  • focus on patients, other customers, and markets;
  • information and analysis;
  • staff focus;
  • process management; and
  • organizational performance results.

"By helping health care organizations assess and improve their overall performance and strive for excellence in all they do, the Baldrige performance excellence criteria drive improvements beyond most accreditation requirements," said Harry Hertz, director of the Baldrige National Quality Program at NIST.

The performance excellence criteria for health care organizations are based on the very popular Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence first created for businesses in 1988. More than a million and a half copies of the original criteria have been distributed, and wide-scale reproduction and electronic access add to that number significantly.

While thousands of U.S. organizations use the criteria to assess and improve their overall performance, going through the application process brings additional benefits. For a fee of $4,500 for large organizations and $1,500 for small organizations (under 500 employees), health care organizations that submit an application will receive from 300 to 1,000 hours of review by at least six members of the award’s private-sector board of examiners. All applicants will receive a detailed feedback report from these experts on their strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Single copies of the Baldrige Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence are available free of charge from NIST, (301) 975-2036; fax: (301) 948-3716; nqp [at] (nqp[at]nist[dot]gov); or on the World Wide Web at

Managed by NIST in conjunction with the private sector, the Baldrige National Quality Program is helping U.S. businesses and other organizations improve their competitiveness and performance by promoting performance excellence, recognizing achievements of U.S. organizations and publicizing their successful strategies.

Baldrige Awards are given in manufacturing, service, small business, and, starting in 1999, health care and education.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

Released January 22, 1999, Updated November 27, 2017