Sarah Bush Lincoln (SBL) earned the highest performance honors from Illinois Performance Excellence, the 2011 Gold Award for Achievement of Excellence.

SBL voluntarily submitted a 50-page application to the Lincoln Award program in the spring 2011 (now known as Illinois Performance Excellence, ILPEx). It applies the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence Program criteria to evaluating the performance of an organization.

This holistic evaluation looks at how an organization:

1) leads
2) plans
3) listen to its customers
4) uses data and measures to drive performance
5) engages its workforce
6) improves its processes
7) delivers results

The program looks for evidence of exceeding the rigorous criteria and two key elements of performance: cycles of continuous improvement and sustained high level, benchmarked, results. In other words: How do you do it? How do you compare to the best? Show us the results.

A group of 11 examiners visited SBL for a weeklong evaluation in September.

SBL has been working toward this goal for several years as it first earned the silver award in 2005 and again in 2008. Through this journey, employees and volunteers have become more deeply engaged in the total healthcare process and actively seek improvements across the organization. It was clear to the Illinois Performance Excellence examiners that employees throughout the organization understand our mission and our strategic goals. Increased attention to the available data has helped us make steady improvements in patient experience and quality scores across the board surpassing many of the state and national measures.

Since the first awards were given in 1995, there have been only four healthcare recipients of the gold-level award. And Sarah Bush Lincoln is ranked among the highest performing organizations in the state.