The health care industry is undergoing rapid change. While improvement work is often linked to a specific project or program, fostering an organization-wide improvement culture can have long-term impacts on health outcomes and customer satisfaction. Southcentral Foundation’s Nuka System of Care (Nuka) is structured for continuous improvement using the voice of the patient (called “customer-owners”) and grounded in the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award framework.

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Learn about our approach

At Southcentral Foundation’s Nuka System of Care, change is driven by customer-owners and their feedback is an integral part of the strategic planning process. Leveraging the strengths of Alaska Native culture and the community is a significant part of what has made SCF successful; SCF incorporates these strengths into the strategic planning process, with a focus on building and maintaining relationships across the organization. The goal is to make changes and improvements that customer-owners want to see while maintaining efficiency and a high quality of service. The strategic planning cycle is active year-round to help SCF achieve this goal.

SCF uses several methods for collecting feedback data and community input for organizational improvement:

  1. A survey system, including a customer satisfaction survey delivered on tablets and an annual employee satisfaction survey (supporting work processes, employee performance, and links to customer satisfaction, with 55 percent of employees who are Alaska Native or American Indian).
  2. A trend-reporting database used for non-qualitative data, which allows Nuka to make changes desired by customer-owners quickly and efficiently.
  3. Community advisory boards, such as the Elder Advisory Council and Tribal Health Advisory Councils, provide feedback directly to leadership.
  4. Community events, such as the Southcentral Foundation Annual Gathering, promote wellness programs and provide opportunities for customer-owners to share feedback.

Leadership is committed to several principles to support employees as they make improvements desired by customer-owners. They encourage calculated risk-taking innovation and creativity on the part of employees, who are encouraged to try out new ideas and look for new approaches to problems.

SCF’s approach to strategic planning could prove valuable to study for organizations that are having difficulties formulating and executing strategic plans or are looking for ways to improve their planning processes. SCF’s experience has shown that an inclusive approach to strategic planning can lead to increased satisfaction from both customers and employees, as well as improved quality of services.

Solutions for your organization

To assist with the strategic planning process, SCF has developed its own planning software. The tool, called the Nuka Strategic Planning Software, enables employees across the organization to participate in the planning process via a standardized method. This software is available for licensing to your organization. Learn more by visiting

SCF’s subject matter experts can consult with your organization on strategy and improvement solutions, such as:

  • Nuka Strategic Planning Software
  • Action planning and support
  • Improvement model and tools
  • Annual planning cycles
  • Community and customer input processes and strategies
  • Surveying / soliciting feedback
    • Current processes for survey delivery
    • Methods for data collection and data delivery
    • Strategic planning for survey delivery
    • Standardization of survey process
    • Policy and procedure to support survey delivery
    • Resource suggestions to engage consumer base in survey process

How we consult

Southcentral Foundation’s Learning Institute provides consulting solutions in a variety of ways, to best meet the needs of your organization, including:

  • On-site consulting at your location
  • Customized learning experiences on SCF’s campus in Anchorage, Alaska
  • Hourly virtual consulting sessions
  • Multi-year / multi-phase contract solutions
  • Government sole sourcing / no-bid contracting
  • Curriculum design and training / workforce development customization

SCF’s Learning Institute is available to explore these solutions and more. Fill out a request to schedule your complimentary call today!

Additional Resources


The 5 Most Adopted Ideas From SCF’s Nuka System of Care


Understanding Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence


Using the Voice of the Customer to Drive Improvement


Southcentral Foundation Receives Second Presidential Honor: 2017 Baldrige National Quality Award

White Paper

Discover SCF’s Approach to Strategic Planning