Schneck Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System were among four organizations chosen as Baldrige winners in 2011. The award, which recognizes high-level performance excellence, is open to applicants from the manufacturing, service, small business, not-for-profit, education and healthcare sectors.
Schlichting and Dye contrasted their two organizations—Schneck is a small community hospital and Henry Ford is a large, urban health system—and contended that the Baldrige framework could be useful for any hospital.
Dye highlighted a number of successes at Schneck, including a significant improvement in the hospital's door-to-balloon time for patients having heart attack, down to 43 minutes.
“We don't have a (cardiac catheterization) lab and we used to transport patients to the closest noncompetitor hospital, which is a 30-minute drive away,” Dye said. “Baldrige made us think differently about our processes. We had to say that the best thing for the patient is to go to our closest competitor.”
Henry Ford began using the Baldrige framework eight years ago, Schlichting said. “It's a long journey and it's not for the faint of heart,” she said.
The process has helped the health system make gains in care coordination, workplace culture, safety and transparency, she added.
“Even through tough economic times, we still saw stunning results,” Schlichting said.
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