The Baldrige Framework: CompleteRx’s Journey Toward Performance Excellence

In healthcare today, change is the only constant. With evolving reimbursement, emerging new technologies, an aging workforce and a rise in consumerism, a culture of continuous improvement is imperative to evolve and thrive. And building a culture of improvement starts with developing a strategy that involves measuring, improving and adapting.

That’s why CompleteRx began its Baldrige Performance Excellence Program journey five years ago through the Kentucky Center for Performance Excellence, a state-level quality award program using the Baldrige Excellence Framework. “The Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework gives us a way to think about our business and focus us on process and results. It’s helped us prioritize the goals and objectives that are most important to our organization,” says Kenneth Maxik, MBA, MBB, FACHE, RPh, CompleteRx Vice President, Support Services.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was established by the U.S. Congress in 1987 to raise awareness of quality management and recognize U.S. companies that have implemented successful quality management systems. The award is the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence. Improvements by award-winning healthcare organizations span patient morbidity and mortality outcomes to cost and process efficiencies to medical staff and patient and family satisfaction.

A focus on continuous improvement

For CompleteRx, the journey began with its level 1 application five years ago – creating an organizational profile. The profile describes the organization, providing a snapshot of its services, culture, success factors, strategic challenges and performance management system. The comprehensive profile serves as a valuable tool to guide ongoing quality improvement efforts. The Baldrige criteria are organized into seven categories representing key areas of an organization: leadership; strategy; customers; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce; operations; and results.

Maxik says the iterative strategic planning process has helped the organization link its strategic imperatives to their impact on CompleteRx’s customers, workforce and overall operations. For example, the process helped them see that its previous customer and employee satisfaction surveys weren’t giving them useful benchmarking data. That realization prompted a vendor change. With its new employee and customer satisfaction tool, the organization can see how it compares to other organizations, providing valuable data to inform improvement efforts.

The Baldrige journey has led to improvements in the quality and quantity of data collection across all areas of the organization, from medications purchased to employee productivity. “Using the Baldrige Framework, you’ve got to show the results for each of the measurement areas,” notes Maxik. “It’s expanded the amount of measurement we do and helps us see where we’re doing well and where we’re falling short. We’ve become much more data-driven and results-oriented.”

The journey ahead

This year, CompleteRx has applied for the level 4 award through the Kentucky Center for Performance Excellence. If successful, the next step in the journey will be to complete the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award application and review process.

Later this month, CompleteRx will be a part of the American College of Healthcare Executives Congress on Healthcare Leadership. Kenneth Maxik will join two other speakers for an on-demand session, “Using the Baldrige Performance Excellence and ISO 9001 Frameworks to Thrive in Uncertain Times.” The speakers will share evidence for engaging in a Baldrige journey, with a focus on leadership’s role in creating the conditions for performance excellence and using the strategic planning process to foster organizational alignment, integration and success.


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