The Baldrige Influence on Governance Excellence

By Larry Walker and Cindy Fineran

Guided by their organization’s mission, vision and values, trustees must govern with their eye on the future, the well-being of patients, and the health of their communities. In recent years, changing payment systems and increased emphasis on performance have intensified hospitals’ focus on value. To succeed and ensure long-term viability in today’s environment, trustees of hospitals and health systems must focus on adapting to the demands for value and performance excellence in a complex and uncertain health care environment.

Why Baldrige

The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is a public-private partnership dedicated to helping organizations improve and succeed in a competitive global market by addressing three questions: “Is your organization doing as well as it could? How do you know? What and how should your organization improve or change?” When a guest at a Baylor Health Care System board quality meeting observed that committee members “talk[ed] about all the good stuff, but never, ever talk[ed] about what’s not working well,” Jerri Garison, president, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano and Baylor Scott & White Health – North Texas, East Region, knew they needed to begin the Baldrige performance improvement process. Today, Baylor Scott & White – Plano (BSW – Plano) has received both local and national recognition for excellence.

A cornerstone of the Baldrige program is its Excellence Framework. The framework provides criteria and questions that represent leadership and management best practices for promoting performance excellence. To help strengthen participating organizations’ performance, Baldrige identifies its three roles as:

  • Improving organizational processes, capabilities, and results;
  • Facilitating communication and sharing of best practices among U.S. organizations; and
  • Providing a working tool for understanding and managing organizational performance, guiding strategic thinking, and providing learning opportunities.

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