As the hospice industry becomes increasingly competitive and challenging, especially with upcoming transparency meant to highlight quality, hospices are asking how they can set themselves apart. Hospices are continuing to look for ways to demonstrate quality within their communities and as they form strategic partnerships. Utilizing the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria and framework is emerging as a means to achieve those results. Although the use of the Baldrige criteria is fairly new to the hospice community, organizations are starting to look at its framework to guide and deepen their quality efforts.

What is the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award?

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was established by Congress in 1987 to promote improved quality of goods and services in U.S. companies and organizations and enhance their competitiveness. Its scope was expanded in 1999 to health care and education organizations, including hospices. Congress created the Quality Award Program to:

  • Identify and recognize role model businesses;
  • Establish criteria for evaluating improvement efforts; and,
  • Disseminate and share best practices.

The purpose of the awards is to recognize national role models, who then share their best-in-class practices with other organizations via conferences, hosting site visits, journal articles, and online resources provided by the Baldrige Program. This framework increases the quality and performance of thousands of organizations nationwide that otherwise would not benefit from learning about these best practices. Recipients of the Baldrige award are recognized as innovative, committed to quality and dedicated to overall excellence.

The Baldrige Program vs. Accreditation

How Baldrige differs from other similar quality-centered organizations, such as the Joint Commission and the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP), is that its criteria are not solely patient-centered; rather, they are organizationally and operationally focused with an emphasis on quality. For example: Joint Commission standards “trace” the patient’s care from admission to discharge with a review of the care provided, the policies and procedures that guided care and services, staff training, and regulatory compliance including how the organization uses its quality data to drive care and services. Baldrige, however, focuses on innovation and an organization’s impact not only on internal customers but external customers and the community at large. Baldrige looks at how all systems and processes are driven by quality initiatives and ensuring that all decisions are made with quality in mind. Another key differentiator is asking the question: Are all staff members stakeholders in quality initiatives (not just those in clinical roles or at the bedside)?

The Baldrige Program and Hospices

The Baldrige quality framework provides a mechanism for hospices to evaluate and improve their systems and processes. The framework is comprehensive in its approach and criteria as it focuses on key organizational areas such as: customers, employee engagement, strategic planning, quality measures and results, and leadership.

Although it is a challenging time for hospices nationally, it is also an exciting time with new opportunities. Consideration of the Baldrige framework could be the right next step in a hospice’s evolution. It could also be a key differentiator between your hospice and the hospice down the street!

If you are interested in learning more about the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award framework and criteria visit the Malcolm Baldrige website or call me at Weatherbee Resources, Inc. at 866 969 7124 for more information.