The Virginia Mason Medical Center Discovers Its True Customer

I found this great article by Michael McBride over on the DARK Daily website about the Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) and its Lean journey. Other than the important financial turnaround that VMMC achieved, the medical center appears to have learned the most crucial lesson: "...that the patient, and not VMMC itself, was the true customer."

The article includes some quotes and insights from chairman and CEO
Gary Kaplan, MD, who leads the Lean initiative, which began 10 years ago. He interestingly reaffirmed the pivotal role IT plays in process redesign: "You have to redesign your work first. The data comes first; and IT can help eliminate manually based errors." In addition, although it is is not detailed in the article, Kaplan achieved what can sometimes be one of the hardest early hurdles by "securing buy-in of all senior leadership at the hospital."

Are any of the readers of this blog familiar with the Virginia Mason Medical Center? Do you think it has set the right example for other medical facilities to follow? Are there areas that still lack improvement?

The story of the Virginia Mason Medical Center's Lean odyssey has been revealed in book titled
Transforming Health Care: Virginia Mason Medical Center's Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience authored by Charles Kenney.


Dean Bliss said...

Virginia Mason has been a pioneer in Lean healthcare, and the lessons they have learned have served me well as I have worked with healthcare organizations. No one is perfect, and I'm sure VMMC will admit they have made some mistakes along the way, but so have all of us, including Toyota. The mistakes help us learn.

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