U.S. hospitals and other health care organizations can raise the quality of health care while reducing costs by improving their performance using the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence as a complement to accreditation standards, affirmed key presenters at a recent conference of American health care executives.
The Baldrige framework is aligned with the standards of The Joint Commission—the Illinois-based accrediting body that influences U.S. health care quality through its role in accrediting thousands of health care organizations and programs. Due to their alignment, the Baldrige Criteria and The Joint Commission standards can be used together to advance organizational improvement and excellence, according to presenters at the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) 2014 Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago last week.
At the meeting, leaders of North Mississippi Health Services (NMHS), a 2012 Baldrige Award recipient, presented how they have used both the Baldrige Criteria and The Joint Commission standards to improve their organization's performance. Rodger Brown, NMHS vice president, said his organization has utilized The Joint Commission standards and Baldrige Criteria in a "relentless pursuit of excellence" by its 6,200 employees and 491 physicians across 113 facilities, including 6 hospitals, 4 nursing homes, and multiple outpatient and support locations. He identified differentiators of NMHS's performance as systematic, aligned, and deployed processes, with ongoing cycles of improvement, in accordance with the Baldrige Criteria and aligned with the accreditation principles.
Dr. Ormella Cummings, NMHS chief strategy officer; Lee Greer, NMHS physician/chief quality and safety officer; and Donna Pritchard, North Mississippi Medical Center chief nurse executive and administrator, also affirmed the value of the Baldrige Criteria in speaking about their organization's improvement strategies and results.
Ann Scott Blouin, executive vice president of customer relations for The Joint Commission, pointed out similarities between the Baldrige Criteria and The Joint Commission standards, noting that both view leadership as essential in driving organizational improvement and both provide a consistent framework for criteria/standards-based assessment and evaluating progress.
The presenters pointed out synergies between accreditation and business practices for results in both clinical and nonclinical areas, and they showed how to integrate the Baldrige Criteria and The Joint Commission standards into organizational processes to achieve high performance while reducing costs.
For more information on the Baldrige Health Care Criteria or to download an electronic copy of the 2013-2014 booklet, go to http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/publications/hc_criteria.cfm.