Transforming Health Care

Virginia Mason is nationally recognized for designing care processes around patients, increasing quality and reducing the cost of care. Our successes have been noticed by Press Ganey, The White House, the British National Health Service, The Wall Street Journal, PBS NewsHour, AARP, Seattle Times, and many other organizations and publications. Virginia Mason is recognized as a world leader in transforming health care — delivering better care at lower cost.

Surgical Warranty for Hip and Knee Replacements

Transforming Health Care Delivery

In 2002, Virginia Mason embarked on an ambitious, system-wide program to change the way it delivers health care and in the process improve patient safety and quality. It did so by adopting the basic tenets of the Toyota Production System (TPS), calling it the Virginia Mason Production System, or VMPS.

What Can Employers Do?

For many businesses, health care is their second-largest expense, but the product they buy is often inconsistent in quality. Together we can change that. Employers can use their purchasing power to drive improvements in cost and quality too. These are the steps to affordable care:

  1. Use purchasing power. Remember, providers and health plans are suppliers. Buy from them based on their quality and price.
  2. Define health care quality. Expect these features as the basis for payment: evidence-based, safe and appropriate care; 100 percent patient satisfaction; same-day access; rapid return to function and affordable price.
  3. Set priorities for providers. For the greatest cost savings, tell providers to improve care for the many employees with uncomplicated and acute conditions such as back pain, and the few employees with complicated and chronic conditions such as diabetes.
  4. Choose providers organized around reliable systems. Opt for integrated health systems — they lower costs and inconsistency in care by requiring standardized, evidence-based best practices.
  5. Pay for quality. Pay providers based on the quality they deliver (see step 2). Their performance should be transparent and publicly reported.
  6. Purchase quality. Offer incentives for employees to choose high-quality providers (see step 2).
  7. Create incentives for a healthier workforce. Adopt an employee wellness plan backed with financial incentives.

Virginia Mason Books

Read about Virginia Mason's lean journey to transform healthcare. Learn more »

Virginia Mason Books

Join the Conversation

Virginia Mason helps companies provide health care for employees that is better, faster and more affordable — including some of our region’s and nation’s largest employers. For more insights into how the health care industry is changing, visit and please subscribe to Virginia Mason Institute Knowledge Base.

Learn More Today

To learn more about what you can do to improve health care quality and reduce costs for your business, and your employees, please contact Darlene Corkrum at or call (206) 341-0423.