Virginia Mason Medical Center Implements Lean Management Principles to Drive Out Waste

This improvement story originally appeared in IHI's 2006 Progress Report
Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, routinely finds ways to improve patient care while saving money. This is due to development of the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS), a management methodology based on principles of lean management from the Toyota Production System, and applied in IHI’s IMPACT network. 
For example, Virginia Mason applied the principles of VMPS when designing its new Center for Hyperbaric Medicine. Originally, staff felt that larger hyperbaric chambers would require the construction of a new building. But careful analysis proved otherwise. The team not only found they were able to build the new Center in an existing hospital space, which saved $2 million in construction costs, but they were also able to design the Center so that more patients can receive treatment simultaneously, eliminating waiting time. The new Center can also accommodate emergency cases without interrupting regularly scheduled patient care. 
The Center’s location within the hospital also eliminates the need for patients to be transported via ambulance to a separate campus site for care, saving approximately $55,000 annually in ambulance expenses alone. 
“We are continually identifying ways to provide quality care and eliminating non-value-added elements of the patient experience,” says Gary Kaplan, MD, Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO.
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