Dr. Michael Murphy, chief medical officer at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, is among a panel of experts involved in selecting the 2012 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipients.

The Baldrige Award is the nation’s highest presidential honor for quality and performance excellence that an organization can receive. The program has recognized 90 organizations in various fields, including education, health care, manufacturing, nonprofit service and small business.

As an appointee to the board of examiners for the 2012 award, Murphy is among 500 leading experts from industry, professional and trade organizations, education and health care organizations, and nonprofits who are reviewing and evaluating applications.

Murphy said the applications, which can be as long as 50 pages, are measured against a criteria booklet on the Baldrige website. His team of 10 evaluators reviews a single application in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, customer service, performance results, workforce strengths such as employer/employee relationships, and the operational aspects of how work processes get done.

“This year it was a tougher bar to even submit an application,” said Murphy, explaining that the number of applications dropped to about 45 from 80 applications last year.

After identifying the organizations’ strengths and opportunities for improvement, a consensus is reached on the top 25 percent. The finalists are evaluated further with site visits before final scores are reviewed nationally and winners are selected. A range of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipients are expected to be announced late this year, and Murphy said historically one to three health care organizations receive the award.

This is the third year Murphy, a health care veteran with more than 25 years of experience, is participating in the awards selection process.