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Duke University Hospital Receives N.C. Award for Excellence

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University Hospital has received a 2006 North Carolina Award for Excellence, made by the state to recognize outstanding organizational performance.

The award will be presented today at Duke University Medical Center.

Duke University Hospital is one of seven organizations to be honored this year. Only two hospitals have previously been recognized with the award in the program's 15 year history.

"We are pleased to have earned this recognition for excellence," said William Fulkerson, M.D., the hospital's chief executive officer and vice president for acute care services at Duke University Health System. "At Duke, we are committed to providing the best care for our patients in the safest environment possible, and this award recognizes the care and commitment that each member of our team brings to that goal."

The award is patterned after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards, given by the White House annually to organizations judged to best exemplify the highest performance standards in their industry. The state-funded award program is managed by North Carolina State University's Industrial Extension Service.

Duke University Hospital received the award at the "advancement" level, which is the second-highest rating among the program's four classifications, according to Gail Shulby, RN, patient safety officer for Duke University Hospital. "Program officials say it is notable for an organization to achieve this level of performance excellence the first time it is up for consideration," she said. "We're committed to regularly using the Baldrige criteria to assess and improve all aspects of the hospital in order to best serve our patients."

Organizations must apply to be considered for the award, and then undergo extensive evaluation, according to the award program's director, Wayne Tindle.

As part of Duke University Hospital's evaluation, program assessors spent three days on site, interviewing more than 300 physicians, executives, and other staff members. The assessors also examined 50 pages of specially prepared documentation detailing hospital practices and procedures.

"The application process makes an organization focus on what is most important to running its business in the best possible way, including how well it serves its customers and how well its work environment encourages people to want to go to work there each day," Tindle said. "Winners become a benchmark to other organizations in their industry."

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