How Baptist Health Care Improves Performance

The Performance Improvement Fundamentals (PIF) course is a comprehensive curriculum based on LEAN and Six Sigma principles.

Edited by Margery Weinstein

When Baptist Health Care Corporation set its strategic goals for 2012, the organization knew that the best way to continue its focus of having “world-class retention and satisfaction rates, and to accept and adapt to the changes taking place in health care” was to incorporate the skills and experience of its staff in the planning process. The organization began this endeavor by first making a change in how employees were referred to; instead of employees, Baptist Health Care now refers to “team members.” This includes everyone in the organization, regardless of the facility or status—from the newest team member in Environmental Services, to the organization’s CEO and everyone in between. “We are all individual members of the same team, and we all have a common purpose and goal—Patient-Centered Excellence, Every Patient, Every Time,” Baptist Health Care says.

The changes occurring in health care prompted the organization to look closely at its goals and to prepare itself for future changes. An example of this is Baptist Health Care’s Quality Pillar goal of identifying a strategy for deploying process redesign in a way that enables it to improve the value of the services it provides. This may be done through improvements in quality, efficiency, access, or through the reduction of cost while maintaining current standards of quality, efficiency, and access.

Process Redesign

In addition to changing the way employees are referred to, the organization enlisted members of its front-line staff by engaging them in its Value Care Initiative, specifically in its Process Redesign program. As part of the Process Redesign program, Baptist Health Care created a Process Improvement Fundamentals (PIF) course. The PIF course is a comprehensive curriculum based on LEAN and Six Sigma principles, developed specifically for individuals who have expressed interest in, and have demonstrated the potential for, improving things within their department. The goals of the PIF Program are to provide an educational experience where team members learn and use the PIF method, teach team members how to identify waste and apply problem-solving tools to improve how their department does business, and apply everything that is learned by completing one project by the end of the course. In a six-month period, Baptist Health Care graduated 63 team members from its PIF course, with another 48 enrolled and attending classes.


The organization’s first round of classes, called Waves, produced a wide variety of results. For example, 85 percent of the time, Baptist Health Care improved its patient wait times in its clinical offices from an average of 45 minutes to 10 minutes. Another student project resulted in improved communications and standardized the way the organization’s lab interacts with its emergency department, thereby improving the value of care its patients receive when reporting possible heart conditions.

To date, Baptist Health Care has identified more than $500,000 in hard dollar savings, and much more in the soft dollar category. The results the organization has seen so far run the gamut through all of its five pillars: People, Service, Quality, Financial, and Growth. Baptist Health Care also has been able to identify and enlist the help of some of its graduate students by utilizing the skills they learned in PIF and applying them to coaching opportunities for its current and future students. Although the organization benefits from these types of endeavors, it makes sure to incentivize its staff. To do this, Baptist Health Care has applied for and received accreditation for the course. Its clinical team members who successfully complete the course receive 12 hours of continuing education credit, which the organization says, “is helpful to our team members, especially with regard to our nation’s current economy.”

HAVE INPUT OR TIPS on this topic? If so, send them our way in an e-mail to with the subject line “Baptist Health Care,” and we’ll try to include your advice in an upcoming edition of the Training Top 125 Best Practices/Executive Exchange e-newsletter.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.