Baldrige Performance Excellence Program DB4

This discussion forum is designed to explore your thoughts on the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. This program is very well known by management/leadership teams in healthcare so it is IMPERATIVE that you, as a health care student, are at least vaguely aware of what it is!

Respond thoughtfully to the following inquiry/question:

Quickly review both attachments 1 and 2

A. Attachment 1 provides detail on Organization Profiles, Part 1 (P.1) and Part 2 (P.2) look to files DB4 attachment 1. pdf

B. Attachment 2 also provides detail on the organization profile sections but also has detail on the seven (7) categories on which organizations are rated for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (leadership, strategy, customers, measurement, knowledge, operations, results) look to files DB4 attachment 1. pdf

C. After reviewing these attachments, find at least one full, current article about healthcare facilities that have been recognized by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program – or an article discussing the merits of this program. Cite this source at the end of your initial discussion thread!

2. Imagine you have been hired as manager of a healthcare facility that plans to apply for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program in the next year. As a new manager, you are not familiar with this program but have been tasked with completing the application and starting needed initiatives for sections in which your organization may be lacking.

*You believe that all 7 categories are very important but all need work in your organization. Pick one of the 7 categories that you would choose to focus on and tackle first – and tell us what that choice is.

(leadership, strategy, customers, measurement, knowledge, operations, results)

*Why did you make this choice? Explain.

*Do you believe it is realistic that an organization can excel in all 7 of these categories? Explain your response.

*Why do you believe organizations seek out voluntary achievements such as the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program? They are a lot of work for people that are already overwhelmed with work.

What is the motivation for an organization?

What are the real benefits if any?

Would you pursue this for your organization some day? Why?
4 2015–2016 Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence

Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence

The Organizational Profile is the most appropriate starting point for self-assessment and for writing an application. It is criti- cally important for the following reasons:

• It helps you identify gaps in key information and focus on key performance requirements and results.

• You can use it as an initial self-assessment. If you identify topics for which conflicting, little, or no information is avail- able, use these topics for action planning.

• It sets the context for and allows you to address unique aspects of your organization in your responses to the Health Care Criteria requirements in categories 1–7.

P The Organizational Profile is a snapshot of your organization, the KEY influences on HOW it operates, and your competitive environment.

P.1 Organizational Description: What are your key organizational characteristics?

In your response, answer the following questions:

a. Organizational Environment

(1) HEALTH CARE SERVICE Offerings What are your main HEALTH CARE SERVICE offerings (see the note on the next page)? What is the relative importance of each to your success? What mechanisms do you use to deliver your HEALTH CARE SERVICES?

(2) MISSION, VISION, and VALUES What are your stated MISSION, VISION, and VALUES? What are your organization’s CORE COMPETENCIES, and what is their relationship to your MISSION?

(3) WORKFORCE What is your WORKFORCE profile? What recent changes have you experienced in WORKFORCE composition or your WORKFORCE needs? What are

• your WORKFORCE or employee groups and SEGMENTS,

• the educational requirements for different employee groups and SEGMENTS, and

• the KEY drivers that engage them in achieving your MISSION and VISION?

What are your organized bargaining units (union representation)? What are your organization’s special health and safety requirements?

(4) Assets What are your major facilities, technologies, and equipment?

(5) Regulatory Requirements What is the regulatory environment under which you operate? What are the KEY applicable occupational health and safety regulations; accreditation, certification, or registration requirements; industry standards; and environmental, financial, and HEALTH CARE SERVICE delivery regulations?

b. Organizational Relationships

(1) Organizational Structure What are your organizational structure and GOVERNANCE system? What are the reporting relationships among your GOVERNANCE board, SENIOR LEADERS, and parent organization, as appropriate?

(2) PATIENTS, Other CUSTOMERS, and STAKEHOLDERS What are your KEY market SEGMENTS, PATIENT and other CUSTOMER groups, and STAKEHOLDER groups, as appropriate? What are their KEY requirements and expectations of your HEALTH CARE SERVICES, PATIENT and other CUSTOMER support services, and operations? What are the differ- ences in these requirements and expectations among market SEGMENTS, PATIENT and other CUSTOMER groups, and STAKEHOLDER groups?

(Continued on the next page)

From Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. 2015. 2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): A Systems Approach to Improving Your Organization’s Performance. Gaithersburg, MD: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology.


(3) Suppliers and PARTNERS What are your KEY types of suppliers, PARTNERS, and COLLABORATORS? What role do they play

• in your WORK SYSTEMS, especially in producing and delivering your KEY HEALTH CARE SERVICES and PATIENT and other CUSTOMER support services; and

• in enhancing your competitiveness?

What are your KEY mechanisms for two-way communication with suppliers, PARTNERS, and COLLABORATORS? What role, if any, do these organizations play in contributing and implementing INNOVATIONS in your organization? What are your KEY supply-chain requirements?

Notes P. Your responses to the Organizational Profile questions are very important. They set the context for understanding your organization and how it operates. Your responses to all other questions in the Baldrige Health Care Criteria should relate to the organizational context you describe in this profile. Your responses to the Organizational Profile questions thus allow you to tailor your responses to all other questions to your organization’s uniqueness.

P.1a(1). Health care service offerings are the services you offer in the marketplace. Mechanisms for delivering services to your patients might be direct or might be indirect, through contractors, collaborators, or partners.

P.1a(2). Core competencies are your organization’s areas of greatest expertise. They are those strategically important capabilities that are central to fulfilling your mission or provide an advantage in your marketplace or service environment. Core competencies are frequently challenging for competitors or suppliers and partners to imitate and frequently preserve your competitive advantage.

P.1a(2). Core competencies are one example of concepts that are woven throughout the Health Care Criteria to ensure a systems approach to organizational performance management. Other such concepts include innovation, use of data and information to review performance and create knowledge, and change readiness and management.

P.1a(3). Workforce or employee groups and segments (including organized bargaining units) might be based on type of employment or contract-reporting relationship, loca- tion (including telework), tour of duty, work environment, use of certain family-friendly policies, or other factors.

P.1a(3). Organizations that also rely on volunteers and unpaid staff to accomplish their work should include these groups as part of their workforce.

P.1a(5). Industry standards might include industrywide codes of conduct and policy guidance. Depending on the regions in which you operate, environmental regulations

might cover greenhouse gas emissions, carbon regulations and trading, and energy efficiency.

P.1b(2). Customers include the users and potential users of your health care services. They are the direct users of your health care services (patients), as well as referring health care providers and users who pay for your services, such as patients’ families, insurers, and other third-party payors.

P.1b(2). Patient and other customer groups might be based on common expectations, behaviors, preferences, or profiles. Within a group, there may be customer segments based on differences and commonalities. You might subdivide your market into market segments based on health care service lines or features, service delivery modes, payors, volume, geography, or other factors that you use to define a market segment.

P.1b(2). The requirements of your patient and other customer groups and your market segments might include accessibility, continuity of care, safety, security, leveraging of technology, billing requirements, socially responsible behavior, community service, cultural preferences, and multilingual services.

P.1b(2), P.1b(3). Patient, other customer, stakeholder, and operational requirements and expectations will drive your organization’s sensitivity to the risk of service, support, and supply-chain interruptions, including those due to natural disasters and other emergencies.

P.1b(3). Communication mechanisms should use understandable language, and they might involve in- person contact, e-mail, social media, or the telephone. For many organizations, these mechanisms may change as marketplace, patient, other customer, or stakeholder requirements change.

For additional guidance on this item, see the Category and Item Commentary ( /publications/hc_criteria.cfm).

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms (pages 47–54).

6 2015–2016 Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence

P.2 Organizational Situation: What is your organization’s strategic situation?

In your response, include answers to the following questions:

a. Competitive Environment

(1) Competitive Position What is your competitive position? What are your relative size and growth in the health care industry or the markets you serve? How many and what types of competitors and KEY COLLABORATORS do you have?

(2) Competitiveness Changes What KEY changes, if any, are affecting your competitive situation, including changes that create opportunities for INNOVATION and collaboration, as appropriate?

(3) Comparative Data What KEY sources of comparative and competitive data are available from within the health care industry? What KEY sources of comparative data are available from outside the health care industry? What limitations, if any, affect your ability to obtain or use these data?

b. Strategic Context

What are your KEY STRATEGIC CHALLENGES and ADVANTAGES in the areas of HEALTH CARE SERVICES, operations, societal responsibilities, and WORKFORCE?

c. PERFORMANCE Improvement System

What are the KEY elements of your PERFORMANCE improvement system, including your PROCESSES for evaluation and improvement of KEY organizational projects and PROCESSES?

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms (pages 47–54).

Notes P.2b. Strategic challenges and advantages might relate to technology; health care services; finances; operations; orga- nizational structure and culture; your parent organization’s capabilities; patients, other customers, and markets; brand recognition and reputation; the health care industry; and people. Strategic advantages might include differentiators such as technology leadership, innovation rate, geographic proximity, accessibility, health care and administrative sup- port services, cost, reputation for service delivery, and wait times for service.

P.2c. The Baldrige Scoring System (pages 30–35) uses performance improvement through learning and integration as a dimension in assessing the maturity of organizational approaches and their deployment. This question is intended

to set an overall context for your approach to performance improvement. The approach you use should be related to your organization’s needs. Approaches that are compatible with the overarching systems approach provided by the Baldrige framework might include implementing a Lean Enterprise System, applying Six Sigma methodology, using PDCA methodology, using standards from ISO (e.g., 9000 or 14000), using decision science, or employing other improve- ment tools.

For additional guidance on this item, see the Category and Item Commentary ( /publications/hc_criteria.cfm).
2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-1

2015–2016 Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework (Health Care)

Health Care Criteria Category and Item Commentary This commentary provides brief summaries of the Baldrige Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence categories and items.

It also includes examples and guidance to supplement the notes that follow each Criteria item in the Baldrige Excellence

Framework (Health Care) booklet. For additional free content, and to purchase the booklet, see

Organizational Profile

Your Organizational Profile provides a framework for understanding your organization. It also helps you guide and

prioritize the information you present in response to the Health Care Criteria items in categories 1–7.

The Organizational Profile gives you critical insight into the key internal and external factors that shape your operating

environment. These factors, such as your organization’s vision, values, mission, core competencies, competitive

environment, and strategic challenges and advantages, impact the way your organization is run and the decisions you

make. As such, the Organizational Profile helps you better understand the context in which you operate; the key

requirements for current and future success; and the needs, opportunities, and constraints placed on your management


P.1 Organizational Description

Purpose This item addresses the key characteristics and relationships that shape your organizational environment. The aim is to set

the context for your organization.

Commentary Understand your organization. The use of such terms as vision, values, mission, and core competencies varies depending on

the organization, and you may not use one or more of these terms. Nevertheless, you should have a clear understanding of

the essence of your organization, why it exists, and where your senior leaders want to take it in the future. This clarity

enables you to make and implement strategic decisions affecting your organization’s future.

Understand your core competencies. A clear identification and thorough understanding of your organization’s core

competencies are central to success now and in the future and to competitive performance. Executing your core

competencies well is frequently a marketplace differentiator. Keeping your core competencies current with your strategic

directions can provide a strategic advantage, and protecting intellectual property contained in your core competencies can

support your organization’s future success.

Understand your regulatory environment. The regulatory environment in which you operate places requirements on your

organization and affects how you run it. Understanding this environment is key to making effective operational and

strategic decisions. Furthermore, it allows you to identify whether you are merely complying with the minimum

requirements of applicable laws, regulations, and standards of practice or exceeding them, a hallmark of leading

organizations and a potential source of competitive advantage.

Identify governance roles and relationships. Leading organizations have well‐defined governance systems with clear

reporting relationships. It is important to clearly identify which functions are performed by your senior leaders and, as

applicable, by your governance board and parent organization. Board independence and accountability are frequently key

considerations in the governance structure.

Understand the role of suppliers. In most organizations, suppliers play critical roles in processes that are important to

running the organization and to maintaining or achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. Supply‐chain requirements

might include accessibility, continuity of care, on-time or just-in-time delivery, flexibility, variable staffing, research and

design capability, process and health care service innovation, and customized services.
2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-2

P.2 Organizational Situation

Purpose This item asks about the competitive and collaborative environment in which your organization operates, including your

key strategic challenges and advantages. It also asks how you approach performance improvement and learning. The aim

is to help you understand your key organizational challenges and your system for establishing and preserving your

competitive advantage.

Commentary Know your competitors. Understanding who your competitors are, how many you have, and their key characteristics is

essential for determining your competitive advantage in the health care industry and marketplace. Leading organizations

have an in‐depth understanding of their current competitive environment, including key changes taking place.

Sources of comparative and competitive data might include external organizations (e.g., the Centers for Medicare and

Medicaid Services [CMS], the National Committee for Quality Assurance [NCQA], and the Joint Commission); health care

industry journals and other publications; benchmarking activities; annual reports for publicly traded companies and public

organizations; conferences; local networks; and industry associations. Particularly in areas related to patient and other

customer satisfaction, staff satisfaction, and organizational effectiveness (e.g., cycle time), comparative data can also be

obtained from organizations outside the health care sector.

Know your strategic challenges. Operating in today’s highly competitive marketplace means facing strategic challenges

that can affect your ability to sustain performance and maintain your competitive position. These challenges might include

the following:

 Your operational costs (e.g., pharmaceuticals, labor, or medical technology)

 Expanding or decreasing markets

 Mergers or acquisitions by your organization and your competitors

 Economic conditions, including fluctuating demand and local and global economic downturns

 Needs for public health and bioterrorism preparedness

 Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

 The introduction of new or substitute health care services

 Rapid technological changes

 New competitors entering the market

 The availability of a skilled workforce

 The retirement of an aging workforce

Know your strategic advantages. Understanding your strategic advantages is as important as understanding your

strategic challenges. They are the sources of competitive advantage to capitalize on and grow while you continue to

address key challenges. These advantages might include the following:

 Reputation for health care service quality

 Innovation leadership

 Customer service recognition

 Brand recognition

 Agility

 Supply-chain integration

 Price leadership

 Environmental (“green”) stewardship

 Societal responsibility and community involvement

Prepare for disruptive technologies. A particularly significant challenge, if it occurs to your organization, is being

unprepared for a disruptive technology that threatens your competitive position or your marketplace. In the past, such

technologies have included magnetic resonance imaging replacing myelograms; laparoscopic surgery replacing more

invasive types of surgery; and e-mail, social media, and smart phones challenging all other means of communication.

Today, organizations need to be scanning the environment inside and outside the health care industry to detect such

challenges at the earliest possible point in time.

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-3

Leadership (Category 1)

This category asks how senior leaders’ personal actions and your governance system guide and sustain your organization.

1.1 Senior Leadership

Purpose This item asks about the key aspects of your senior leaders’ responsibilities, with the aim of creating an organization that is

successful now and in the future.

Commentary The role of senior leaders. Senior leaders play a central role in setting values and directions, communicating, creating and

balancing value for all stakeholders, and creating an organizational focus on action, including transformational change in

the organization’s structure and culture, when needed. Success requires a strong orientation to the future and a

commitment to improvement, innovation and intelligent risk taking, and organizational sustainability. Increasingly, this

requires creating an environment for empowerment, agility, and learning. In health care organizations with separate

administrative/operational and health care leadership, an important aspect of leadership is the relationship between and

the collaboration of these two sets of leaders.

Role-model senior leaders. In highly respected organizations, senior leaders are committed to establishing a culture of

patient and other customer engagement, developing the organization’s future leaders, and recognizing and rewarding

contributions by workforce members. They personally engage with patients and other key customers. Senior leaders

enhance their personal leadership skills. They participate in organizational learning, the development of future leaders,

succession planning, and recognition opportunities and events that celebrate the workforce. Development of future leaders

might include personal mentoring or participation in leadership development courses. Role-model leaders recognize the

need for transformational change when warranted and then lead the effort through to full fruition.

1.2 Governance and Societal Responsibilities

Purpose This item asks about key aspects of your governance system, including the improvement of leaders and the leadership

system. It also asks how the organization ensures that everyone in the organization behaves legally and ethically, how it

fulfills its societal responsibilities, how it supports its key communities, and how it builds community health.

Commentary Organizational governance. This item addresses the need for a responsible, informed, transparent, and accountable

governance or advisory body that can protect the interests of key stakeholders in publicly traded, private, and nonprofit

organizations. This body should have independence in review and audit functions, as well as a function that monitors

organizational, CEOs’/chief administrators’, and medical staff leaders’ performance.

Legal compliance, ethics, and risks. An integral part of health care delivery, performance management, and performance

improvement is proactively addressing (1) the need for ethical behavior; (2) all legal, regulatory, and accreditation

requirements; and (3) risk factors. Ensuring high performance in these areas requires establishing appropriate measures or

indicators that senior leaders track. You should be sensitive to issues of public concern, whether or not these issues are

currently embodied in laws and regulations. Role‐model organizations look for opportunities to excel in areas of legal and

ethical behavior.

Public concerns. Public concerns that charitable and government organizations should anticipate might include the cost of

programs and operations, timely and equitable access to their offerings, and perceptions about their stewardship of


Conservation of natural resources. Conservation might be achieved through the use of “green” technologies, reduction of

your carbon footprint, replacement of hazardous chemicals with water‐based chemicals, energy conservation, use of

cleaner energy sources, or recycling of by‐products or wastes.

Societal responsibility. Societal responsibility implies going beyond a compliance orientation. Opportunities to contribute

to the well-being of environmental, social, and economic systems and opportunities to support key communities are

available to organizations of all sizes. The level and breadth of these contributions will depend on the size of your

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-4

organization and your ability to contribute. Increasingly, decisions to engage with an organization include consideration of

its social responsibility.

Community support. Your organization should consider areas of community involvement that are related to its core

competencies. Examples of organizational community involvement include partnering with other health care providers,

businesses, and professional associations to engage in beneficial, cooperative activities, such as increasing equity and

access to care and sharing best practices to improve overall U.S. health status and health care.

Community health. Actions to build community health might include partnering with local organizations (public entities

and businesses) and health care providers. The community health services you offer will depend on your mission,

including the service requirements of tax-exempt organizations.

Strategy (Category 2)

This category asks how you develop strategic objectives and action plans, implement them, change them if circumstances

require, and measure progress.

The category stresses that your organization’s long‐term organizational success and competitive environment are key

strategic issues that need to be integral parts of your overall planning. Making decisions about your organization’s core

competencies and work systems is an integral part of ensuring your organization’s success now and in the future, and

these decisions are therefore key strategic decisions.

While many organizations are increasingly adept at strategic planning, executing plans is still a significant challenge. This

is especially true given market demands to be agile and be prepared for unexpected change, such as volatile economic

conditions or disruptive technologies that can upset an otherwise fast‐paced but more predictable marketplace. This

category highlights the need to focus not only on developing your plans, but also on your capability to execute them.

The Baldrige framework emphasizes three key aspects of organizational excellence that are important to strategic planning:

 Patient-focused excellence is a strategic view of excellence. The focus is on the drivers of customer engagement,

patient health status, new markets, and market share—key factors in competitiveness and long-term

organizational success.

 Operational performance improvement and innovation contribute to short‐ and longer‐term productivity growth

and cost containment. Building operational capability—including speed, responsiveness, and flexibility—is an

investment in strengthening your organizational fitness.

 Organizational learning and learning by workforce members are necessary strategic considerations in today’s

fast‐paced environment. The Health Care Criteria emphasize that improvement and learning need to be

embedded in work processes. The special role of strategic planning is to align work systems and learning

initiatives with your organization’s strategic directions, thereby ensuring that improvement and learning prepare

you for and reinforce organizational priorities.

This category asks how you

 consider key elements of a strategic planning process, including strategic opportunities, challenges, and

advantages, and the potential need for transformational change in organizational structure or culture;

 optimize the use of resources, ensure the availability of a skilled workforce, and bridge short‐ and longer‐term

requirements that may entail capital expenditures, technology development or acquisition, supplier development,

and new health care partnerships or collaborations; and

 ensure that implementation will be effective—that there are mechanisms to communicate requirements and

achieve alignment on three levels: (1) the organization and executive level, (2) the key work system and work

process level, and (3) the work unit and individual job level.

The requirements in this category encourage strategic thinking and acting in order to develop a basis for a distinct

competitive and collaborative position in the marketplace. These requirements do not imply the need for formal planning

departments, specific planning cycles, or a specified way of visualizing the future. They do not imply that all your

improvements could or should be planned in advance. An effective improvement system combines improvements of many

types and degrees of involvement. This requires clear strategic guidance, particularly when improvement alternatives,

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-5

including major change or innovation, compete for limited resources. In most cases, setting priorities depends heavily on a

cost, opportunity, and threat rationale. However, you might also have critical requirements, such as the incorporation of

new health care technology and community health or other societal responsibilities, that are not driven by cost

considerations alone.

2.1 Strategy Development

Purpose This item asks how you establish a strategy to address your organization’s challenges and leverage its advantages and how

you make decisions about key work systems and core competencies. It also asks about your key strategic objectives and

their related goals. The aim is to strengthen your overall performance, competitiveness, and future success.

Commentary A context for strategy development. This item calls for basic information on the planning process and for information on

all key influences, risks, challenges, and other requirements that might affect your organization’s future opportunities and

directions—taking as long term a view as appropriate and possible from the perspectives of your organization, the health

care industry, and your marketplace. This approach is intended to provide a thorough and realistic context for developing

a patient-, other customer-, and market-focused strategy to guide ongoing decision making, resource allocation, and overall


A future-oriented basis for action. This item is intended to cover all types of health care organizations,

competitive/collaborative situations, strategic issues, planning approaches, and plans. The requirements explicitly call for a

future‐oriented basis for action. Even if your organization is seeking to create an entirely new health care service or

business, you still need to set and test the objectives that define and guide critical actions and performance.

Competitive leadership. This item emphasizes competitive leadership in health care services, which usually depends on

operational effectiveness. Competitive leadership requires a view of the future that includes not only the markets in which

you provide health care services but also how it competes and collaborates in providing services. How to compete and

collaborate presents many options and requires that you understand your organization’s and your competitors’ and

collaborators’ strengths and weaknesses. Deciding how to compete and collaborate also involves decisions on taking

intelligent risks in order to gain or retain market leadership. Although no specific time horizons are included, the thrust of

this item is sustained competitive leadership.

Work systems. Efficient and effective work systems require

 effective design;

 a prevention orientation;

 linkage to patients, other customers, suppliers, partners, and collaborators; and

 a focus on value creation for all key stakeholders; operational performance improvement; cycle time reduction;

and evaluation, continuous improvement, innovation, and organizational learning; and

 regular review to evaluate the need for fundamental changes in the way work is accomplished.

Work systems must also be designed in a way that allows your organization to be agile and protect intellectual property. In

the simplest terms, agility is the ability to adapt quickly, flexibly, and effectively to changing requirements. Depending on

the nature of your strategy and markets, agility might mean the ability to change rapidly from one health care service to

another, adopt a new technology or treatment protocol, respond rapidly to changing demands or market conditions,

respond rapidly to payor requirements, or produce a wide range of customized services. Agility and protection of

intellectual property also increasingly involve decisions to outsource, agreements with key suppliers, and novel partnering


2.2 Strategy Implementation

Purpose This item asks how you convert your strategic objectives into action plans to accomplish the objectives and how you assess

progress relative to these action plans. The aim is to ensure that you deploy your strategies successfully and achieve your


2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-6

Commentary Developing and deploying action plans. Accomplishing action plans requires resources and performance measures, as

well as alignment among the plans of your departments/work units, suppliers, and partners. Of central importance is how

you achieve alignment and consistency—for example, via work systems, work processes, and key measurements. Also,

alignment and consistency provide a basis for setting and communicating priorities for ongoing improvement activities—

part of the daily work of all departments/work units. In addition, performance measures are critical for tracking


Performing analyses to support resource allocation. You can perform many types of analyses to ensure that financial

resources are available to support the accomplishment of your action plans while you meet current obligations. For current

operations, these efforts might include the analysis of cash flows, net income statements, and current liabilities versus

current assets. For investments to accomplish action plans, the efforts might include analysis of discounted cash flows,

return on investment, or return on invested capital.

Analyses also should evaluate the availability of people and other resources to accomplish your action plans while

continuing to meet current obligations. Financial resources must be supplemented by capable people and the necessary

facilities and support.

The specific types of analyses performed will vary from organization to organization. These analyses should help you

assess the financial viability of your current operations and the potential viability of and risks associated with your action

plan initiatives.

Creating workforce plans. Action plans should include human resource or workforce plans that are aligned with and

support your overall strategy. Examples of possible plan elements are

 a redesign of your work organization and jobs to increase workforce empowerment and decision making;

 initiatives to promote greater labor‐management cooperation, such as union partnerships;

 consideration of the impacts of outsourcing on your current workforce and initiatives;

 initiatives to prepare for future workforce capability and capacity needs;

 initiatives to foster knowledge sharing and organizational learning;

 modification of your compensation and recognition systems to recognize team, organizational, patient, other

customer, or other performance attributes; and

 education and training initiatives, such as developmental programs for future leaders, partnerships with

universities to help ensure the availability of an educated and skilled workforce, and training programs on new

technologies important to the future success of your workforce and organization.

Projecting your future environment. An increasingly important part of strategic planning is projecting the future

competitive and collaborative environment. This includes the ability to project your own future performance, as well as

that of your competitors. Such projections help you detect and reduce competitive threats, shorten reaction time, and

identify opportunities. Depending on your organization’s size and type, the potential need for new core competencies, the

maturity of markets, the pace of change, and competitive parameters (e.g., costs or the innovation rate), you might use a

variety of modeling, scenarios, or other techniques and judgments to anticipate the competitive and collaborative


Projecting and comparing your performance. Projections and comparisons in this item are intended to improve your

organization’s ability to understand and track dynamic, competitive performance factors. Projected performance might

include changes resulting from new business ventures, entry into new markets, the introduction of new technologies,

service innovations, or other strategic thrusts that might involve a degree of intelligent risk.

Through this tracking, you should be better prepared to take into account your organization’s rate of improvement and

change relative to that of competitors or comparable organizations and relative to your own targets or stretch goals. Such

tracking serves as a key diagnostic tool for you to use in deciding to start, accelerate, or discontinue initiatives and to

implement needed organizational change.

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-7

Customers (Category 3)

This category asks how you engage patients and other customers for long‐term marketplace success, including how you

listen to the voice of the customer, build relationships with patients and other customers, and use patient and other

customer information to improve and to identify opportunities for innovation.

The category stresses customer engagement as an important outcome of an overall learning and performance excellence

strategy. Your satisfaction and dissatisfaction results for patients and other customers provide vital information for

understanding your patients, your other customers, and the marketplace. In many cases, the voice of the customer

provides meaningful information not only on your patients’ and other customers’ views but also on their marketplace

behaviors and on how these views and behaviors may contribute to your organization’s current and future success in the


Throughout the Health Care Criteria, patients are referred to specifically to stress their importance to health care

organizations. The item requirements also refer to other customers to ensure that your customer focus and performance

management system include all customers. Other customers might include patients’ families, the community, insurers and

other third-party payors, employers, health care providers, patient advocacy groups, departments of health, and students.

A key challenge to health care organizations may be balancing the differing expectations of patients and other customers.

3.1 Voice of the Customer

Purpose This item asks about your processes for listening to your patients and other customers and determining their satisfaction

and dissatisfaction. The aim is to capture meaningful information in order to exceed your patients’ and other customers’


Commentary Customer listening. Selection of voice-of-the-customer strategies depends on your organization’s key business factors.

Most organizations listen to the voice of the customer via multiple modes. Some frequently used modes include focus

groups with patients and other key customers, close integration with patients and other key customers, interviews with

lost and potential patients and other customers about their health care purchasing or relationship decisions, comments

posted on social media by patients and other customers, win/loss analysis relative to competitors and other organizations

providing similar health care services, and survey or feedback information.

Actionable information. This item emphasizes how you obtain actionable information from patients and other customers.

Information is actionable if you can tie it to key health care service offerings and business processes and use it to determine

the cost and health care quality implications of setting particular improvement goals and priorities for change.

Listening/learning and organizational strategy. In a rapidly changing technological, competitive, economic, and social

environment, many factors may affect patients’ and other customers’ expectations and loyalty and your interface with

patients and other customers in the marketplace. This makes it necessary to continually listen and learn. To be effective,

listening and learning need to be closely linked with your overall organizational strategy.

Social media. Customers are increasingly turning to social media to voice their impressions of your health care services

and patient and other customer support. They may provide this information through social interactions you mediate or

through independent or customer‐initiated means. All of these can be valuable sources of information for your

organization. Organizations need to become familiar with vehicles for monitoring and tracking this information.

Customer and market knowledge. Knowledge of patients and other customers, patient and other customer groups, market

segments, former patients and other customers, and potential patients and other customers allows you to tailor health care

service offerings, support and tailor your marketing strategies, develop a more patient- and other customer-focused

workforce culture, gain patients and other customers, evolve your brand image, and ensure long-term organizational


Customers’ satisfaction with competitors. A key aspect of determining patients’ and other customers’ satisfaction and

dissatisfaction is determining their comparative satisfaction with competitors, competing or alternative health care service

offerings, and/or organizations providing similar health care services. Such information might be derived from your own

comparative studies or from independent studies. The factors that lead to patients’ and other customers’ preference are

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-8

critically important in understanding factors that drive health care markets and potentially affect your organization’s

longer‐term competitiveness and success.

3.2 Customer Engagement

Purpose This item asks about your processes for determining and customizing health care service offerings that serve your patients,

other customers, and markets; for enabling patients and other customers to seek information and support; and for

identifying patient and other customer groups and market segments. The item also asks how you build relationships with

your patients and other customers and manage complaints. The aim of these efforts is to improve marketing, build a more

patient- and other customer-focused culture, and enhance patient and other customer loyalty.

Commentary Engagement as a strategic action. Customer engagement is a strategic action aimed at achieving such a degree of loyalty

that the patient or other customer will advocate for your brand and health care service offerings. Achieving such loyalty

requires a patient- and other customer-focused culture in your workforce based on a thorough understanding of your

business strategy and your patients’ and other customers’ behaviors and preferences.

Customer relationship strategies. A relationship strategy may be possible with some patients and other customers but not

with others. The relationship strategies you do have may need to be distinctly different for each patient group, customer

group, and market segment. They may also need to be distinctly different during the different stages of patients’ and other

customers’ relationships with you.

Brand management. Brand management is aimed at positioning your health care service offerings in the marketplace.

Effective brand management leads to improved brand recognition and customer loyalty. Brand management is intended to

build patients’ and other the customers’ emotional attachment for the purpose of differentiating yourself from the

competition and building loyalty.

Complaint management. Complaint aggregation, analysis, and root‐cause determination should lead to effective

elimination of the causes of complaints and to the setting of priorities for process and health care service improvements.

Successful outcomes require effective deployment of information throughout your organization.

Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management (Category 4)

In the simplest terms, category 4 is the “brain center” for the alignment of your operations with your strategic objectives. It

is the main point within the Health Care Criteria for all key information on effectively measuring, analyzing, and

improving performance and managing organizational knowledge to drive improvement, innovation, and organizational

competitiveness. Central to this use of data and information are their quality, security, and availability, as well as the

reliability and security of your information system hardware and software. Furthermore, since information, analysis, and

knowledge management might themselves be primary sources of competitive advantage and productivity growth, this

category also includes such strategic considerations.

4.1 Measurement, Analysis, and Improvement of Organizational Performance

Purpose This item asks how you select and use data and information for performance measurement, analysis, and review in

support of organizational planning and performance improvement. The item serves as a central collection and analysis

point in an integrated performance measurement and management system that relies on clinical, financial, and other data

and information. The aim of performance measurement, analysis, review, and improvement is to guide your process

management toward the achievement of key organizational results and strategic objectives, anticipate and respond to rapid

or unexpected organizational or external changes, and identify best practices to share.

Commentary Aligning and integrating your performance management system. Alignment and integration are key concepts for

successfully implementing and using your performance measurement system. The Health Care Criteria view alignment

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-9

and integration in terms of how widely and how effectively you use that system to meet your needs for organizational

performance assessment and improvement and to develop and execute your strategy.

Alignment and integration include how measures are aligned throughout your organization and how they are integrated

to yield organization‐wide data and information. Organization-wide data and information are key inputs to organizational

performance reviews and strategic decision making. Alignment and integration also include how your senior leaders

deploy performance measurement requirements to track departmental, work group, and process‐level performance on key

measures that are targeted for their organization‐wide significance or for improvement.

Using comparative data. The use of comparative data and information is important to all organizations. The major

premises for their use are the following:

 Your organization needs to know where it stands relative to competitors and to best practices.

 Comparative information and information obtained from benchmarking often provide the impetus for significant

(“breakthrough”) improvement or transformational change.

 Comparing performance information frequently leads to a better understanding of your processes and their


 Comparative performance projections and competitors’ performance may reveal organizational advantages as

well as challenge areas where innovation is needed.

Comparative information may also support organizational analysis and decisions relating to core competencies,

partnering, and outsourcing.

Selecting and using comparative data. Effective selection and use of comparative data and information require you to

determine needs and priorities and establish criteria for seeking appropriate sources for comparisons—from within and

outside the health care industry and your markets.

Comparative data might include data from similar organizations or health care industry benchmarks. Local or national

sources of such data might include

 other organizations through sharing or contributing to external reference databases (e.g., indicator projects),

 the open literature (e.g., outcomes of research studies and practice guidelines), and

 independent organizations (e.g., CMS, accrediting organizations such as the NCQA and the Joint Commission,

and commercial organizations) that gather and evaluate data.

Effective use of comparative data and information allows you to set stretch goals and to promote major nonincremental

(“breakthrough”) improvements in areas most critical to your competitive strategy.

Reviewing performance. The organizational review called for in this item is intended to cover all areas of performance.

This includes not only current performance but also projections of your future performance. The expectation is that the

review findings will provide a reliable means to guide both improvements and opportunities for innovation that are tied to

your key objectives, core competencies, and measures of success. Review findings may also alert you to the need for

transformational change in your organization’s structure and work systems. Therefore, an important component of your

organizational review is the translation of the review findings into actions that are deployed throughout your organization

and to appropriate suppliers, partners, collaborators, and key customers.

Analyzing performance. Analyses that you conduct to gain an understanding of performance and needed actions may

vary widely depending on your organization’s type, size, competitive environment, and other factors. Here are some

examples of possible analyses:

 How health care service improvements or new health care services correlate with key patient and other customer

indicators, such as satisfaction, loyalty, and market share

 Return on investment for intelligent risks that you pursue

 Cost and revenue implications of patient- and other customer-related problems and effective problem resolution

 Interpretation of market share changes in terms of gains and losses in patients and other customers and changes in

their engagement

 Trends in key operational performance indicators, such as productivity, cycle time, waste reduction, utilization

rates, error rates, and cost per case

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 Relationships among learning by workforce members, organizational learning, and the value added per staff


 Financial benefits derived from improvements in workforce capacity, safety, absenteeism, and turnover

 Benefits and costs associated with education and training

 Benefits and costs associated with improved organizational knowledge management and sharing

 The relationship between knowledge management and innovation

 How the ability to identify and meet workforce capability and capacity needs correlates with retention,

motivation, and productivity

 Cost and revenue implications of workforce‐related problems and effective problem resolution

 Individual or aggregate measures of productivity and quality relative to competitors’ performance

 Cost trends relative to competitors’ trends

 Compliance with preventive screenings compared with that of similar health care providers

 Relationships among health care service quality, operational performance indicators, and overall financial

performance trends as reflected in indicators such as operating costs, revenues, asset utilization, and value added

per staff member

 Allocation of resources among alternative improvement projects based on cost/benefit implications or

environmental and societal impact

 Net earnings or savings derived from improvements in quality, operational, and workforce performance

 Comparisons among cost centers showing how quality and operational performance affect financial performance

(e.g., impacts of health maintenance organization [HMO] preventive care versus diagnostic expenses and

treatment of potentially preventable illnesses)

 Contributions of improvement activities to cash flow, working capital use, and shareholder value

 Impacts of patient and other customer loyalty on profit

 Cost and revenue implications of entry into new health care markets, including service-line and geographic


 Market share versus profits

 Trends in economic, market, and stakeholder indicators of value and the impact of these trends on long-term

organizational success

Aligning analysis, performance review, and planning. Individual facts and data do not usually provide an effective basis

for setting organizational priorities. This item emphasizes the need for close alignment between your analysis and your

organizational performance review and between your performance review and your organizational planning. This ensures

that analysis and review are relevant to decision making and that decisions are based on relevant data and information. In

addition, your historical performance, combined with assumptions about future internal and external changes, allows you

to develop performance projections. These projections may serve as a key planning tool.

Understanding causality. Action depends on understanding causality among processes and between processes and

results. Process actions and their results may have many resource implications. Organizations have a critical need to

provide an effective analytical basis for decisions because resources for innovation and improvement are limited.

4.2 Knowledge Management, Information, and Information Technology

Purpose This item asks how you build and manage your organization’s knowledge assets and ensure the quality, security, and

availability of data, information, software, and hardware, normally and in the event of an emergency. The aim of this item

is to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness and stimulate innovation.

Commentary Knowledge management. The focus of your knowledge management is on the knowledge that your people need to do

their work; improve processes and health care services; and innovate to add value for patients, other customers, and your


Organizational learning. One of the many issues facing organizations today is how to manage, use, evaluate, and share

their ever‐increasing organizational knowledge. Leading organizations benefit from the knowledge assets of their

workforce, customers, suppliers, collaborators, and partners, who together drive organizational learning and innovation.

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Information management. Managing information can require a significant commitment of resources as the sources of data

and information grow dramatically. The continued growth of information within organizations’ operations—as part of

organizational knowledge networks, through the web and social media, in organization-to-organization communications,

and in electronic communication/information transfer—challenges organizations’ ability to ensure reliability and

availability in a user‐friendly format. In addition, the ability to blend and correlate disparate types of data, such as video,

text, and numbers, provides opportunities for a competitive advantage.

Data and information availability. Data and information are especially important in organizational networks,

partnerships, and supply chains. You should take into account this use of data and information and recognize the need for

rapid data validation, reliability assurance, and security, given the frequency and magnitude of electronic data transfer and

the challenges of cybersecurity. This is of particular concern given the use of electronic health records and in light of

HIPAA requirements.

Emergency availability. You should carefully plan how you will continue to provide an information technology

infrastructure, data, and information in the event of either a natural or man‐made disaster. These plans should consider the

needs of all your stakeholders, including the workforce, patients, other customers, suppliers, partners, and collaborators.

The plans also should be coordinated with your overall plan for operational continuity (item 6.2) and cybersecurity.

Workforce (Category 5)

This category addresses key workforce practices—those directed toward creating and maintaining a high‐performance

environment and toward engaging your workforce to enable it and your organization to adapt to change and succeed.

To reinforce the basic alignment of workforce management with overall strategy, the Health Care Criteria also cover

workforce planning as part of overall strategic planning in category 2.

5.1 Workforce Environment

Purpose This item asks about your workforce capability and capacity needs, how you meet those needs to accomplish your

organization’s work, and how you ensure a supportive work climate. The aim is to build an effective environment for

accomplishing your work and supporting your workforce.

Commentary Workforce capability and capacity. Many organizations confuse the concepts of capability and capacity by adding more

people with incorrect skills to compensate for skill shortages or by assuming that fewer highly skilled workers can meet

capacity needs for processes requiring less skill or different skills but more people to accomplish. Having the right number

of workforce contributors with the right skill set is critical to success. Looking ahead to predict those needs for the future

allows for adequate training, hiring, relocation times, and preparation for work system changes.

Workforce support. Most organizations, regardless of size, have many opportunities to support their workforce. Some

examples of services, facilities, activities, and other opportunities are personal and career counseling; career development

and employability services; recreational or cultural activities; formal and informal recognition; non‐work‐related

education; child and elder care; special leave for family responsibilities and community service; flexible work hours and

benefits packages; outplacement services; and retiree benefits, including ongoing access to services.

Workforce groups. In some health care organizations, the variety of workforce groups—such as paid staff, independent

practitioners, volunteers, and students—contributing to delivering the organization’s services is a challenge. You should

consider each of these groups in responding to this category.

5.2 Workforce Engagement

Purpose This item asks about your systems for managing workforce performance and developing your workforce members to

enable and encourage all of them to contribute effectively and to the best of their ability. These systems are intended to

foster high performance, to address your core competencies, and to help accomplish your action plans and ensure your

organization’s success now and in the future.

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Commentary High performance. The focus of this item is on a workforce capable of achieving high performance. High performance is

characterized by flexibility, innovation, empowerment and personal accountability, knowledge and skill sharing, good

communication and information flow, alignment with organizational objectives, customer focus, and rapid response to

changing organizational needs and health care marketplace requirements.

Workforce engagement and performance. Many studies have shown that high levels of workforce engagement have a

significant, positive impact on organizational performance. Research has indicated that engagement is characterized by

performing meaningful work; having clear organizational direction and accountability for performance; and having a safe,

trusting, effective, and cooperative work environment. In many organizations, employees and volunteers are drawn to and

derive meaning from their work because it is aligned with their personal values. In health care organizations, workforce

engagement also depends on building and sustaining relationships between administrative/operational leaders and

independent practitioners.

Drivers of workforce engagement. Although satisfaction with pay and pay increases are important, these two factors

generally are not sufficient to ensure workforce engagement and high performance. Some examples of other factors to

consider are effective problem and grievance resolution; development and career opportunities; the work environment and

management support; workplace safety and security; the workload; effective communication, cooperation, and teamwork;

the degree of empowerment; job security; appreciation of the differing needs of diverse workforce groups; and

organizational support for serving patients and other customers.

Factors inhibiting engagement. It is equally important to understand and address factors inhibiting engagement. You

could develop an understanding of these factors through workforce surveys, focus groups, blogs, or exit interviews with

departing workforce members.

Compensation and recognition. Compensation and recognition systems should be matched to your work systems. To be

effective, compensation and recognition might be tied to demonstrated skills, peer evaluations, and/or collaboration among

departments and health care practitioners. Compensation and recognition approaches also might include profit sharing;

mechanisms for expressing simple “thank-yous”; rewards for exemplary team or unit performance; and linkage to patient

and other customer engagement measures, achievement of organizational strategic objectives, or other key organizational


Other indicators of workforce engagement. In addition to direct measures of workforce engagement through formal or

informal surveys, other indicators include absenteeism, turnover, grievances, and strikes.

Workforce development needs. Depending on the nature of your organization’s health care services, workforce

responsibilities, and stage of organizational and personal development, workforce development needs might vary greatly.

These needs might include participating in continuing clinical education and gaining skills for knowledge sharing,

communication, teamwork, and problem solving; interpreting and using data; exceeding patients’ and other customers’

requirements; analyzing and simplifying processes; reducing waste and cycle time; applying HIPAA regulations and

concepts in daily work; working with and motivating volunteers; and setting priorities based on strategic alignment or

cost‐benefit analysis.

Education needs might also include advanced skills in new technologies or basic skills, such as reading, writing, language,

arithmetic, and computer skills.

Learning and development locations and formats. Learning and development opportunities might occur inside or outside

your organization and could involve on‐the‐job, classroom, e‐learning, or distance learning, as well as developmental

assignments, coaching, or mentoring.

Individual learning and development needs. To help people realize their full potential, many organizations prepare an

individual development plan with each person that addresses his or her career and learning objectives.

Customer contact training. Although this item does not specifically ask you about training staff members who have direct

contact with patients and other customers, such training is important and common. It frequently includes gaining critical

skills and knowledge about your health care services, your patients and other customers, how to listen to them, how to

recover from problems or failures, and how to effectively manage and exceed patients’ and other customers’ expectations.

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-13

Knowledge transfer. Your organization’s knowledge management system should provide the mechanism for sharing your

people’s and your organization’s knowledge to ensure that high performance is maintained through transitions. You

should determine what knowledge is critical for your operations and then implement systematic processes for sharing this

information. This is particularly important for implicit knowledge (i.e., knowledge personally retained by workforce


Learning and development effectiveness. Measures to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your workforce and

leader development and learning systems might address the impact on individual, departmental/unit, and organizational

performance; the impact on patient- and other customer-related performance; and costs versus benefits.

Operations (Category 6)

This category asks how you focus on your organization’s work, the design and delivery of health care services, innovation,

and operational effectiveness to achieve organizational success now and in the future.

6.1 Work Processes

Purpose This item asks about the management of your key health care services, your key work processes, and innovation, with the

aim of creating value for your patients and other customers and achieving current and future organizational success.

Commentary Work process requirements. Your design approaches could differ appreciably depending on the nature of your health care

service offerings—whether they are entirely new, are variants, are customized, or involve major or minor work process

changes. Your design approaches should consider the key requirements for your services. Factors that you might need to

consider in work process design include desired health care outcomes; safety and risk management; timeliness of, access

to, coordination of, and continuity of care; patient involvement in care decisions; variability in patients’ and other

customers’ expectations of health care service options; environmental impact, your carbon footprint, and use of “green”

technology; measurement capability; process capability; availability of referral sources; supplier capability; technology;

facility capacity or utilization; regulatory requirements; and documentation.

Effective design must also consider the cycle time and productivity of health care service delivery processes. This might

involve detailed mapping of service delivery processes and the redesign (“reengineering”) of those processes to achieve

efficiency, as well as to meet changing patient and other customer requirements.

Work process design. Many organizations need to consider requirements for suppliers, partners, and collaborators at the

work process design stage. Overall, effective design must take into account all stakeholders in the continuum of care. If

many design projects are carried out in parallel or if your organization’s health care services use equipment and facilities

that are used for other services, coordination of resources might be a major concern, but it might also offer a means to

significantly reduce costs and time to design and implement new services.

Key health care service-related and business processes. Your key work processes include your health care service-related

processes and those business processes that your senior leaders consider important to organizational success and growth.

These processes frequently relate to your organization’s core competencies, strategic objectives, and critical success factors.

Key health care processes might include assessment, screening, treatment, and therapy. Key business processes might

include physician integration, research and development, technology acquisition, information and knowledge

management, supply-chain management, supplier partnering, outsourcing, mergers and acquisitions, project management,

and sales and marketing. Given the diverse nature of these processes, the requirements and performance characteristics

might vary significantly for different processes.

In‐process measures. This item refers specifically to in‐process measurements. These measurements require you to identify

critical points in processes for measurement and observation. These points should occur as early as possible in processes to

minimize problems and costs that may result from deviations from expected performance.

Key support processes. Your key work processes include those processes that support your daily operations and the

delivery of your health care services but are not usually designed in detail with them. Support process requirements do not

usually depend significantly on health care service characteristics. Such requirements usually depend significantly on

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-14

internal requirements, and they must be coordinated and integrated to ensure efficient and effective linkage and

performance. Support processes might include processes for housekeeping, medical records, finance and accounting,

facilities management, legal services, human resource services, public and community relations, and other administrative


Process performance. Achieving expected process performance frequently requires setting in‐process performance levels

or standards to guide decision making. When deviations occur, corrective action is required to restore the performance of

the process to its design specifications. Depending on the nature of the process, the corrective action could involve

technology, people, or both. Proper corrective action involves changes at the source (root cause) of the deviation and

should minimize the likelihood of this type of variation occurring again or elsewhere in your organization.

When interactions with patients or other customers are involved, evaluation of how well the process is performing must

consider differences among patient and other customer groups. This might entail allowing for specific or general

contingencies, depending on the patient or other customer information gathered. In some organizations, cycle times for key

processes may be a year or longer, which may create special challenges in measuring day‐to‐day progress and identifying

opportunities for reducing cycle times, when appropriate.

Patient expectations. Critical to patient-focused delivery of health care are the consideration of patient expectations, the

setting of realistic patient expectations for likely health care outcomes, and the opportunity for patients to participate in

making informed decisions about their own health care.

Process improvement. This item calls for information on how you improve processes to achieve better performance. Better

performance means not only better quality from your patients’ and other customers’ perspectives, but also better financial

and operational performance—such as productivity—from your other stakeholders’ perspectives. A variety of process

improvement approaches are commonly used. Examples include

 using the results of organizational performance reviews;

 sharing successful strategies across your organization to drive learning and innovation;

 performing process analysis and research (e.g., process mapping, optimization experiments, error proofing);

 conducting technical and business research and development;

 using quality improvement tools like Lean, Six Sigma, and Plan‐Do‐Check‐Act (PDCA);

 benchmarking;

 using alternative technology; and

 using information from customers of the processes—within and outside your organization.

Process improvement approaches might use financial data to evaluate alternatives and set priorities. Together, these

approaches offer a wide range of possibilities, including a complete redesign (“reengineering”) of processes.

Innovation management. In an organization that has a supportive environment for innovation, there are likely to be many

more ideas than the organization has resources to pursue. This leads to two critical decision points in the innovation cycle:

(1) commensurate with resources, prioritizing opportunities to pursue those opportunities with the highest likelihood of a

return on investment (intelligent risks) and (2) knowing when to discontinue projects and reallocate the resources either to

further development of successful projects or to new projects.

6.2 Operational Effectiveness

Purpose This item asks how you ensure effective operations in order to have a safe workplace environment and deliver customer

value. Effective operations frequently depend on managing your supply chain effectively and controlling the overall costs

of your operations.

Commentary Cost control. Cost and cycle-time reduction may be achieved through Lean process management strategies. The

elimination of waste may involve Six Sigma projects. It is crucial to utilize key measures for tracking all aspects of your

operations management.

Supply‐chain management. For many organizations, supply‐chain management has become a key factor in achieving

productivity and profitability goals and overall organizational success. Suppliers, partners, and collaborators are receiving

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-15

increasing strategic attention as organizations reevaluate their core competencies. Supplier processes should fulfill two

purposes: to help improve the performance of suppliers and partners and to help them contribute to improving your

overall operations. Supply‐chain management might include processes for selecting suppliers, with the aim of reducing the

total number of suppliers and increasing preferred supplier and partner agreements.

Workplace safety. All organizations, regardless of size, are required to meet minimum regulatory standards for workplace

and workforce safety; however, high‐performing organizations have processes in place to ensure that they not only meet

these minimum standards but also go beyond a compliance orientation to a safety-first commitment. This includes

designing proactive processes, with input from people directly involved in the work, to ensure a safe working


Emergency preparedness. Efforts to ensure the continuity of operations in an emergency should consider all facets of your

operations that are needed to provide your health care services to patients, including supply-chain availability. The specific

level of operations that you will need to provide will be guided by your mission and your patients’ and other customers’

needs and requirements. Health care providers are likely to have a higher need for continuity of services than

organizations that do not provide an essential function. You should also coordinate your continuity‐of-operations efforts

with your efforts to ensure the availability of data and information (item 4.2).

Results (Category 7)

This category provides a systems focus that encompasses all results necessary to sustaining an enterprise: your key process

and health care results, your patient- and other customer‐focused results, your workforce results, your leadership and

governance system results, and your overall financial and market performance.

This systems focus maintains the purposes of the Baldrige Excellence Framework—superior health care quality and value

of offerings as viewed by your patients, your other customers, and the marketplace; superior organizational performance

as reflected in your clinical and operational indicators; and organizational learning and learning by workforce members.

Category 7 thus provides “real‐time” information (measures of progress) for evaluating, improving, and innovating health

care services and processes, in alignment with your overall organizational strategy. While category 7 asks about results

broadly, you should place a premium on monitoring outcomes that are the consequence of your operational performance

and serve as predictors of future performance.

7.1 Health Care and Process Results

Purpose This item asks about your key health care and operational performance results, which demonstrate health care outcomes,

service quality, and value that lead to patient and other customer satisfaction and engagement.

Commentary Measures of health care outcomes. This item addresses those measures that best reflect your organization’s success in

delivering on its mission as a health care provider. It calls for the use of key data and information to demonstrate your

organization’s performance on health care outcomes and processes and in delivering health care. Overall, this is the most

important item in the Health Care Criteria, as it focuses on demonstrating improving health care results over time.

Examples of patient outcome measures. Patient outcome measures might include improvement in perceived pain,

resumption of activities of daily living, return to work, decreased severity of decubitus ulcer, decreased mortality and

morbidity, and long-term survival rates.

Measures of service performance. This item also emphasizes measures of health care service performance that serve as

indicators of patients’ and other customers’ views and decisions relative to future interactions and relationships. These

measures of service performance are derived from patient- and other customer-related information gathered in category 3.

Examples of health care process measures. Health care process measures appropriate for inclusion might be based on the

following: adherence to patient safety practices, treatment protocols, care plans, critical pathways, care bundles,

medication administration, patient involvement in decisions, timeliness of care, information transfers and communication

of treatment plans and orders, and coordination of care across practitioners and settings.

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Service performance and patient and other customer indicators. The correlation between health care service performance

and patient and other customer indicators is a critical management tool with multiple uses: (1) defining and focusing on

key quality and patient and other customer requirements, (2) identifying service differentiators in the health care

marketplace, and (3) determining cause-effect relationships between your health care service attributes and evidence of

patients’ and other customers’ satisfaction and engagement. The correlation might reveal emerging or changing market

segments, the changing importance of requirements, or even the potential obsolescence of offerings.

Process effectiveness and efficiency measures. Measures and indicators of process effectiveness and efficiency might

include the following:

 Work system performance that demonstrates improved cost savings or higher productivity by using internal

and/or external resources

 Internal responsiveness indicators, such as cycle times and turnaround times

 Utilization rates

 Waste reduction, such as reductions in repeat diagnostic tests

 Reduced emission levels, carbon footprint, or energy consumption

 Waste stream reductions, by-product use, and recycling

 Strategic indicators, such as innovation rates, time to introduce new health care services, and increased use of e-


 Supply-chain indicators, such as reductions in inventory, increases in quality and productivity, Six Sigma initiative

results, improvements in electronic data exchange, and reductions in supply-chain management costs

Measures of organizational and operational performance. This item encourages you to develop and include unique and

innovative measures to track key processes and operational improvement. Unique measures should consider cause‐effect

relationships between operational performance and health care service quality or performance. All key areas of

organizational and operational performance, including your organization’s readiness for emergencies, should be evaluated

by measures that are relevant and important to your organization.

7.2 Customer-Focused Results

Purpose This item asks about your patient- and other customer‐focused performance results, which demonstrate how well you have

been satisfying your patients and other customers and engaging them in loyalty‐building relationships.

Commentary Your performance as viewed by your customers. This item focuses on all relevant data to determine and help predict your

performance as viewed by your patients and other customers. Relevant data and information include the following:

 Patient and other customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction

 Retention, gains, and losses of patients, other customers, and their accounts

 Patient and other customer complaints, complaint management, and effective complaint resolution

 Patient- and other customer-perceived value based on health care quality, outcomes, and cost

 Patients’ and other customers’ assessment of access and ease of use (including courtesy in service interactions)

 Patients’ and other customers’ advocacy for your brand and health care service offerings

 Awards, ratings, and recognition from patients, other customers, and independent rating organizations

Results that go beyond satisfaction. This item places an emphasis on patient- and other customer‐focused results that go

beyond satisfaction measurements, because customer engagement and relationships are better indicators and measures of

future success in the marketplace and of organizational sustainability.

7.3 Workforce-Focused Results

Purpose This item asks about your workforce‐focused performance results, which demonstrate how well you have been creating

and maintaining a productive, caring, engaging, and learning environment for all members of your workforce.

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-17

Commentary Workforce results factors. Results reported might include generic or organization‐specific factors. Generic factors might

include safety, absenteeism, turnover, satisfaction, and complaints (grievances). For some measures, such as absenteeism

and turnover, local or regional comparisons might be appropriate. Organization‐specific factors are those you assess to

determine workforce climate and engagement. These factors might include the extent of training, retraining, or cross‐

training to meet capability and capacity needs; the extent and success of workforce empowerment; the extent of union-

management partnering; or the extent of volunteer and independent practitioner involvement in process and program


Workforce capacity and capability. Results reported for indicators of workforce capacity and capability might include

staffing levels across organizational units and certifications to meet skill needs. Additional factors may include

organizational restructuring, as well as job rotations designed to meet strategic directions or patients’ and other customers’


Workforce engagement. Results measures reported for indicators of workforce engagement and satisfaction might include

improvement in local decision making, commitment to organizational change initiatives (such as implementation of

evidence-based care processes), organizational culture, and workforce knowledge sharing. Input data, such as the number

of cash awards, might be included, but the main emphasis should be on data that show effectiveness or outcomes. For

example, an outcome measure might be increased workforce retention resulting from establishing a peer recognition

program or the number of promotions into leadership positions that have resulted from the organization’s leadership

development program.

7.4 Leadership and Governance Results

Purpose This item asks about your key results in the areas of senior leadership and governance, which demonstrate the extent to

which your organization is fiscally sound, ethical, and socially responsible.

Commentary Importance of high ethical standards. Independent of an increased national focus on issues of governance and fiscal

accountability, ethics, and leadership accountability, it is important for organizations to practice and demonstrate high

standards of overall conduct. Governance bodies and senior leaders should track relevant performance measures regularly

and emphasize this performance in stakeholder communications.

Results to report. Your results should include key accreditation and regulatory review findings, patient safety data, staff

licensure and recredentialing determinations, external audit findings, proficiency testing results, and utilization review

results, as appropriate. Other results should include environmental, legal, and regulatory compliance; results of oversight

audits by government or funding agencies; noteworthy achievements in these areas, as appropriate; and organizational

contributions to societal well‐being, support for key communities, and contributions to improving community health.

Sanctions or adverse actions. If your organization has received sanctions or adverse actions under law (including

malpractice), regulation, accreditation, or contract during the past five years, you should summarize the incidents, their

current status, and actions to prevent reoccurrence.

Measures of strategy implementation. Because many organizations have difficulty determining appropriate measures,

measuring progress in accomplishing their strategy is a key challenge. Frequently, organizations can discern these progress

measures by first defining the results that would indicate end‐goal success in achieving a strategic objective and then using

that end‐goal to define intermediate measures.

7.5 Financial and Market Results

Purpose This item asks about your key financial and market results, which demonstrate your financial sustainability and your

marketplace achievements.

2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care): Criteria Category and Item Commentary A-18

Commentary Senior leaders’ role. Measures reported in this item are those usually tracked by senior leaders on an ongoing basis to

assess your organization’s financial performance and viability.

Appropriate measures to report. In addition to the measures included in the note to 7.5a(1), appropriate financial measures

and indicators might include revenues, budgets, profits or losses, cash position, net assets, debt leverage, cash‐to‐cash cycle

time, earnings per share, financial operations efficiency (collections, billing, receivables), and financial returns. Marketplace

performance measures might include measures of business growth, charitable donations and grants received, new services

and markets entered, new populations served, or the percentage of income derived from new health care services or


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