Virginia Mason Production System

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 combining basic tenets of the Toyota Production System (TPS), and elements from the philosophies of kaizen and lean, to create the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS).

While some medical centers have initiated projects using TPS, Virginia Mason is the first to integrate the Toyota management philosophy throughout its entire system.

Benefits of VMPS

  • Improves quality and safety
  • Reduces the burden of work for team members
  • Decreases the cost of providing care

How VMPS Works

Virginia Mason's vision is to be the Quality Leader in health care. This vision requires adopting a paradigm shift from expecting errors and defects, to believing that the perfect patient experience is possible. Key to accomplishing this is understanding that the team members who do the work know what the problems are, and have the best solutions. VMPS strategies range from small-scale ideas tested and implemented immediately, to long-range planning that redesigns new spaces and processes.

Longer range events include: Rapid Process Improvement Workshops (RPIWs) and kaizen events that are focused on incremental changes. Innovation events, 3P workshops and Moonshine are intended to design new processes or equipment, or to completely redesign them. Virginia Mason has held more than 3,000 continuous improvement activities involving team members, patients and guests. If you’d like to learn more about these techniques, the Virginia Mason Institute provides education and training in the VMPS management method.

Essential to the success of the Virginia Mason Production System has been the inclusion of patients and their families. Patients and their families are consulted about their experiences through interviews, questionnaires and listening sessions. They actively participate in many of our improvement events and activities. If you are a patient or family member of a patient and are interested in becoming a Patient-Family Partner, visit Volunteer Services.

In 2016 Virginia Mason held its first innovation expo and its first patient experience day. These events were possible thanks, in part, to a generous donation to the Virginia Mason Foundation. The donation has helped increase the capacity of our Moonshine process to design and develop new and innovative pieces of patient care equipment. Please consider contributing to innovation at Virginia Mason.