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SEATTLE – (April 15, 2015) – Virginia Mason is featured in a new book about an innovative approach to business management that empowers employees and transforms organizations, titled “The Lean CEO: Leading the Way to World-Class Excellence.”

Authored by Toronto-based journalist and facilitator Jacob Stoller, the book documents the successes of 28 visionary chief executive officers – including Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD – who radically changed their businesses by using lean principles.

Led by Dr. Kaplan, Virginia Mason embraced lean principles and methods of the Toyota Production System and, more than a decade ago, adapted them as a management system for health care called the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS). This system enables Virginia Mason team members to identify and eliminate waste (i.e., anything that does not add value) in their jobs with the goal of improving quality, safety and patient experience.

Today, Virginia Mason is recognized as one of the best and safest hospitals in the U.S. by Healthgrades, The Leapfrog Group and other independent organizations. For 10 straight years, Dr. Kaplan has been named one of the most influential health care leaders in the nation by Modern Healthcare magazine. Also, more than 5,000 people from 20 countries have attended VMPS seminars offered by the Virginia Mason Institute.

“The Lean CEO” features an all-star cast of senior leaders from a variety of organizations, including global manufacturers Ingersoll Rand and Herman Miller, the states of Connecticut and Washington, historical icons such as Wiremold, and many more. Stoller provides contextual background as Dr. Kaplan and his peers candidly explain how they galvanized their organizations around delivering excellence to customers. The result is a wealth of practical advice on topics such as:

  • Leading and empowering people;
  • Building transparency and trust;
  • Tuning into the customer experience;
  • Aligning strategic direction with day-to-day operations;
  • Instilling a corporate-wide culture that promotes safety and quality;
  • Creating a learning organization.

Published by McGraw-Hill, the book is being praised for providing insight into what it means to truly lead an organization. “Finally in this book we learn the lesson so often missed,” said Jeffrey K. Liker, professor, University of Michigan and author of “The Toyota Way.” “Lean is a total enterprise approach to adaptation and prosperity that must be understood and owned by the CEO.”

About Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs about 6,000 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 460 physicians; regional medical centers throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety.

To learn more about Virginia Mason, please visit or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter. To learn how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509

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