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Duke Regional Engages With Performance Excellence

Duke Regional Hospital received recognition for its journey toward performance excellence at the North Carolina Hospital Association’s 2015 Winter Meeting in Cary, NC.

Performance Excellence is an integrated approach to organizational performance management that results in continuous cycles of improvement and learning. The Baldrige criteria for performance excellence scores an organization on seven categories: leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, knowledge management, workforce focus, operations, and results. In each category, approaches are evaluated based on their maturity and the level of deployment and integration found within the organization.

Though Duke Regional had a long-standing program for process improvement in place, its board of directors decided to adopt performance excellence as well; the hospital incorporated the criteria alongside its existing framework, as an additional guide toward its goal of becoming the best community hospital in the state of North Carolina.

Committed to Quality

Applying the criteria illuminated areas of strength within the organization, as well as opportunities for further improvement.

“Duke Regional Hospital is committed to quality and to continually improving our organization,” says Scott McCarver, vice president of operations at Duke Regional. “That means providing the best care, experience and service to our patients and their loved ones every day.”

The hospital managed its improvement processes with a balanced scorecard before it adopted the criteria, so using data and applying metrics to determine if improvements were working was an area in which the hospital already had expertise. The Baldrige concept of measuring “learning cycles” was new to the organization, however, and the additional component showed Duke Regional’s leadership team that there was still room for the hospital’s cycles of evaluation and improvement to be further refined.

“We are always looking at how we can do things better,” says McCarver. “It’s our promise to our patients and to the communities we serve, and it’s the way Duke Regional will become the best community hospital in North Carolina.”

He advises other healthcare organizations that are considering committing to Performance Excellence to partner with an external expert, or to grow their own.

“Baldrige has its own vocabulary, and folks can struggle with understanding what terms mean,” says McCarver, who is a trained Baldrige examiner.

“Having someone within the organization who can translate, is key.”

Duke Regional’s executive team plans to immediately dive into the next phase of Performance Excellence.

“We’re going to continue on this journey,” says McCarver. “This is not the end for us.”

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