The Virginia Mason Institute (VMI) was established in 2008 by Virginia Mason Medical Center as a separate non-profit corporation.
VMI was created in response to an overwhelming number of requests for Virginia Mason staff to share their experience and knowledge in applying lean principles to healthcare.
The mission of the Virginia Mason Institute is to provide education and training in the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) to other organizations, including healthcare providers. Our goal is to advance quality, safety and value by sharing our knowledge and experience.
A History of VMPS
At the turn of the 21st century, many healthcare organizations were suffering major financial hardships and Virginia Mason was no exception. A change was needed or the organization that began in 1920 would not survive. With a new CEO in place and strategic planning work under way, the board of directors at Virginia Mason challenged its leadership with a question: Who is your customer? Of course the answer was quick: It's the patient. But a deeper look inside Virginia Mason revealed processes that were not designed for the patient, but rather for the healthcare provider and staff. For example, waiting rooms by their pure design are places patients, who are on time, go to wait for a provider who is behind schedule. The question encouraged Virginia Mason leaders to look for a management method that placed the customer, quality, and patient safety as the organization's highest priorities.
A national search within the healthcare industry yielded no results. Soon, leaders at Virginia Mason connected with Boeing, another Puget Sound business leader, and began evaluating its use of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and lean manufacturing principles. Virginia Mason leaders saw value in the TPS principles of making quality and safety a top priority, relentlessly focusing on the customer, reducing waste (of which healthcare has an abundance), and engaging staff in continuous improvement. By June 2002, following a mandatory executive team trip to Japan to observe TPS in action, VM became the first healthcare organization to declare VMPS as its management method and fully adopt the tools of lean manufacturing and continuous improvement. With nearly a decade of experience, VMPS is the furthest along in implementing lean and has been the industry leader setting patient-care quality standards in healthcare. VMPS is a daily part of work at Virginia Mason and is integral to the organization's success.
Student Becomes Teacher: Virginia Mason Institute
Several years into Virginia Mason's journey, healthcare leaders around the world began visiting the organization to observe VMPS in action. Due to the demand for observational visits, Virginia Mason created the Virginia Mason Institute (VMI), a separate non-profit corporation that provides education and training in VMPS management methods. VMI has taught leaders from more than 100 healthcare organizations throughout the world. VMI services range from speakers and visits that provide a basic understanding of VMPS to in-depth education and hands-on work applying VMPS methods and tools.
"I found the 3P event to be very engaging and informative. I really liked your measured approach at helping us to "think outside the box", while building consensus and developing actionable solutions."
– Gerard G., Shepley Bulfinch