The health care industry’s quality improvement journey reached another milestone last month as Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg, Texas, and the St. David’s HealthCare system in Austin, Texas, won the 2014 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from the Commerce Department.

An independent board recommended this year’s recipients after evaluating them in the areas of leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results. To date, 19 hospitals and health systems have received the award.

The news, which comes on the heels of the Baldrige Foundation’s announcement that the American Hospital Association will be the lead sponsor for the Baldrige award’s 2015–16 health care criteria for performance excellence, reflects the remarkable degree to which quantifiable actions and results have become the gold standard for health care organizations.

While many of these performance measures come from the business and clinical sides of organizations, Health Facilities Management’s readers also can play a role in quality efforts as they increase the information-gathering capabilities of their departments.

Indeed, this month’s special report on the growth of technology in health care design, construction and operations focuses on numerous devices and software packages that are bringing ever-more detailed decision-making abilities to the fingertips of employees' doing rounds in patient care areas, infrastructure plants, distribution spaces and on job sites.

Click here to learn how the wide range of available technologies may help your department to become a more data-driven enterprise.