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Health Care

Baldrige Award Recipient Hospitals Significantly Outperform Their Peers

Recipients six times more likely to be counted among 100 Top Hospitals

Published: Friday, October 28, 2011 - 12:23

(NIST: Gaithersburg, MD) -- A new report has found that health care organizations that have won Baldrige National Quality Awards for performance excellence or been considered for a Baldrige Award site visit outperform other hospitals in nearly every metric used to determine the 100 Top Hospitals, a national recognition given by Thomson Reuters.

Commissioned by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a private organization, and conducted by Thomson Reuters, the report found that Baldrige hospitals were six times more likely to be counted among the 100 Top Hospitals, which represent the top 3 percent of hospitals in the United States, and that they statistically outperform the 100 Top Hospitals on core measures established by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

To evaluate the benefits of health care organizations using the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, the Baldrige Foundation chose to conduct a comparison with the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals national study. The 18-year-old Thomson Reuters program is based on a rigorous, time-tested statistical methodology using publicly available, unbiased data.

“Hospitals using the Baldrige process are significantly more likely than peers to become 100 Top Hospitals award winners, thereby achieving performance equal to or better than the top 3 percent,” the report states. “Although the Baldrige process and the 100 Top Hospitals statistical measurement are quite different, the results of this study suggest that the methods are complementary and identify similarly high-achieving organizations.”

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. Since 1988, 86 organizations have received Baldrige Awards. The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is managed by NIST in conjunction with the private sector.

Originally given only to manufacturers, small businesses and service companies, the Baldrige Award program was broadened by Congress and the president in 1998 to include education and health care organizations. Nonprofit organizations, including government agencies, became eligible for the award in 2007. The first health care organization to receive the award was SSM Health Care of St. Louis, Missouri, in 2002.

Health care organizations have accounted for more than 50 percent of Baldrige award applicants since 2005.

Baldrige hospitals also were far more likely than their peers to be cited for marked improvement over a span of five years. According to the report, "[m]ore than 27 percent of Baldrige winner hospitals also won a 100 Top Hospitals: Performance Improvement Leaders award, while only 3 percent of their non-Baldrige peers won the award."

"The results of the Thomson Reuters study confirm what we've known for years: using the Baldrige Criteria and the earnest pursuit of the Baldrige evaluation will improve your organization by nearly every measure of success, be it in outcomes, safety, customer and employee satisfaction, or profitability," says Baldrige Performance Excellence Program Director Harry Hertz.

The study, Comparison of Baldrige Award Applicants and Recipients with Peer Hospitals on a National Balanced Scorecard, is available at www.nist.gov/baldrige/upload/baldrige-hospital-research-paper.pdf.

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Founded in 1901, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a nonregulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, NIST’s mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.