Achieving and Sustaining Quality in Healthcare

Ryan, Mary Jean
March 2004
Frontiers of Health Services Management;Spring2004, Vol. 20 Issue 3, p3
SSM Health Care (SSMHC), the first healthcare recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, has been cited by both Baldrige and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations as having a culture of continuous quality improvement (CQI). SSM Health Care began to implement CQI systemwide in 1990. CQI provided the foundation for other strategies that served to further weave quality improvement into the fabric of the organization's culture. It gave SSMHC's people the tools and techniques to make improvements, created an environment of teamwork, and introduced the concept of improving processes. Using the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence as a business model helped SSMHC to see how various organizational functions should link and to discover gaps in the linkage within its own organization. Baldrige feedback reports identified opportunities that could then be prioritized and the resulting improvements implemented. Overall, the Baldrige model gave a focused approach to what had been scattered improvement efforts. SSM Health Care considers the Baldrige model the best way for an organization to get better faster.


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