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Virginia Mason Blog Shares Lessons Learned in Transforming Health Care

SEATTLE – (April 9, 2012) – Over the last decade, Virginia Mason has been on a journey to transform health care by using the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) to improve quality and patient safety and lower costs by eliminating defects and reducing waste. One of the guiding principles of this journey has been transparency — being open and honest about what is and isn’t working and sharing it with colleagues and policy makers by publishing results in academic and health care publications, by presenting at hundreds of conferences each year and through the educational programs of the Virginia Mason Institute.

Now transparency and transformation have entered the blogosphere with the launch of the Virginia Mason Blog. The blogger is former Boston Globe journalist Charles Kenney. Kenney is the author or co-author of three books on improving quality in health care, including Transforming Health Care: Virginia Mason Medical Center’s Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience, which was awarded the 2012 Shingo Research and Professional Publications Award.

"The Virginia Mason Blog is for anyone working to improve health care," says Kenney. "We want to create a forum for transformation where individuals, organizations and thought leaders can share information that will help everyone deliver safer, more efficient and more cost-effective care."

The first installment features a post about Kim Pittenger, MD, a family physician at Virginia Mason Kirkland, on how doctors can organize their work "in flow" to do a better job taking care of more patients in less time, and get home for dinner with no open charts or left over paperwork. Dr. Pittenger will be posting a regular feature on called "TRY THIS."

"We will have a lot of these straightforward, things-I-can-do-right-now kinds of posts, and we want our readers to comment, add links, and contribute their knowledge," says Kenney. "And we’ll post thoughts on books, conferences and articles — anything we think can be helpful to clinicians and administrators working to improve the quality and efficiency of care delivery.’’

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,300 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital, a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 450 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.

Awards and distinctions include Top Hospital of the Decade by The Leapfrog Group, 2012 Top Hospital (for the sixth consecutive year) by The Leapfrog Group, 2012 Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence from HealthGrades®, and 2012 America’s 100 Best Specialty Excellence Award for Overall Cardiac and Gastrointestinal Care from HealthGrades. 

To learn more about Virginia Mason Medical Center, please visit or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

For media inquiries, contact:
John Gillespie
Media Relations
(206) 341-1509 (o)
(206) 402-2822 (m)

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