Why Baldrige? Ask Leaders of Top U.S. Hospitals

Posted by Christine Schaefer

Two years ago, a Thomson Reuters study found that health care organizations that won a Baldrige Award or received a site visit during the Baldrige Award process outperformed other hospitals on nearly every measure used to determine the “100 Top Hospitals.”

Last year, national research organization Truven Health Analytics again linked the Baldrige Criteria to top-performing U.S. hospitals when it published survey results of CEOs of the 100 Top Hospitals that affirmed their high-performing organizations extensively adopted prescribed Baldrige practices.

And since 2002 when the first health care organization won a Baldrige Award, health care leaders have been speaking of the importance of the Baldrige framework to their organizations’ journeys to excellence. Consider these examples:

“Why Baldrige? I’ve been involved with the Baldrige program since 1999 when it was first opened to health care facilities. And one of the things that struck me at the very beginning is what a great approach this is to running an organization. I read through the entire set of Criteria, and I said, ‘You know, if anyone wants to run a great organization, this is what they ought to be doing.’ . . . Baldrige is a great platform for change. . . . we like to say that it helps you get better faster. And in today’s environment, getting better faster is the key to making sure that you’re successful and that you have an opportunity to be competitive in a world market.” (John Heer, president and CEO of North Mississippi Health Services, 2012 Baldrige Award winner)

“Use of the Baldrige framework . . . boosted our ability to deliver better care to our patients. And, in the end, that is the most important thing. Delivering better care to our patients—and having a greater and more positive impact on the lives of all of our customers.” (Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System, 2011 Baldrige Award winner)

“As the era of health care reform finally dawns, we are committed to continuing at the cutting edge of innovation in improving the health of our communities while delivering care that is less fragmented and much more affordable. Utilizing the Baldrige Criteria, we are excited by the opportunity to reinvent health care for our community.” (David Fox, president of Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, 2010 Baldrige Award winner)

What’s more, here’s how the leader of the latest Baldrige Award-winning health care organization sees the Baldrige Criteria changing the entire nation for the better:

“I think that if every company in the United States adopted the Baldrige Criteria, a lot of the issues that we’re facing as a nation right now in our economy would disappear. So the Baldrige 25th Anniversary, I think, is a . . . time of great opportunities. . . . to try to encourage people to adopt the criteria, because basically what you’re trying to do is create world- class-performing organizations. And I believe that if we, as a country, had every company following the Baldrige Criteria, our productivity would increase, our financial returns would increase, the service would be better, the quality would be better. Everything would be so much better in this country.” (John Heer, president and CEO of North Mississippi Health Services, 2012 Baldrige Award winner)

Have you read the 2013-2014 Health Care Criteria yet?


This entry was posted in Award Recipients, Baldrige Excellence Framework (Criteria) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why Baldrige? Ask Leaders of Top U.S. Hospitals

  1. Bryan Zak says:

    Thank you Christine: These were a great combination of comments from Health Care CEO’s and Presidents of Hospitals and I know that similar results could be found for all of the other Baldrige Award sectors. A friend of mine use to like the saying “What if Spartacus had an F-16”, which after reading your post made me think of “What if Spartacus had the Baldrige Criteria”. This fictional analogy helps me to comprehend the difference between companies using the criteria and those that do not.

  2. Frank Appel says:

    My favorite quote from a healthcare leader about Baldrige has been Sr. Mary Jean Ryan’s (CEO of SMS Health Care, 1st health care recipient): “To sum up, Baldrige is the best way to get better faster.”
    It has been rewarding to see how many health care leaders have taken up the challenge to get better faseter since 1999.

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