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SEATTLE – (Dec. 9, 2013) — Virginia Mason’s quest to transform health care by using principles of lean manufacturing to identify and eliminate waste, improve quality and safety, and lower cost is the focus of a new book called a must-read for health care leaders.

The book is titled “Accelerating Health Care Transformation with Lean and Innovation: The Virginia Mason Experience.” Author Paul Plsek is an internationally recognized consultant on improvement, innovation and large-scale change in complex organizations and systems.

Plsek uses lucid descriptions and riveting examples in telling how Virginia Mason has systematically integrated innovative methods, structures and cultural practices in its pursuit of the perfect patient experience. A key message is that Virginia Mason, a pioneer in applying lean methodologies to health care, has proven lean enables innovation to flourish and provides a disciplined framework for continuous learning.

“This is a ‘must-read’ text for anyone in health care who is interested in improvement and education,” said Dr. Lynne Maher, director of innovation at Ko Awatea Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.

“I think this book is a profoundly important contribution to the literature of health care change,” Donald Berwick, MD, president emeritus and senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, writes in the foreword. “It doesn’t just push the envelope; it burns the envelope and starts over. And it shows just how much leadership, investment and hard, hard work change like that takes.”

More than a decade ago, Virginia Mason became the first health system in the U.S. to adapt the principles and philosophy of the Toyota Production System to eliminate waste, improve quality and safety, and control cost. Its version is called the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS). In addition to using VMPS to guide quality and safety initiatives across the organization, Virginia Mason offers workshops in its production system to health care professionals and others from around the world. Since 2008, more than 5,000 people from 19 countries have attended VMPS workshops offered by the Virginia Mason Institute.

“Few organizations in health and medical care have created a learning system aimed at achieving performance that is better every day than it was the day before,” said former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill in endorsing the new book about Virginia Mason. “Virginia Mason is not a finished product, but if you are interested in learning how to pursue excellence in a non-random way … you should read this book.”

Accelerating Health Care Transformation with Lean and Innovation: The Virginia Mason Experience,” is published by CRC Press.

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 more than 5,600 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 460 physicians; satellite locations 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 and improve quality and patient safety.

To learn more about Virginia Mason Medical Center, 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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