Gary Kaplan, MD, CEO of Virginia Mason Medical Center, set off on a 13-day immersion of the Toyota Production System. The entire top executive layer of Virginia Mason experienced first-hand the assembly lines operated under “Jidoka” rules. From this, the “Virginia Mason Production System” was organized. The purpose was to eliminate waste without burdening the patient. A patient first process was thus created. Quality, safety, staff satisfaction, successful economic enterprise and quality leadership became the primary focus.

Value is defined by the patient. The patient’s voice is imperative to improving the process. Mistake proofing every step is the ultimate goal…100% perfection. The patient safety alert system creates a way for each staff member to “stop the production line” at any point in the patient flow process. This allows for improved patient quality of care, in addition to staff satisfaction. Virginia Mason created a culture that emphasizes collaboration and respect for people. The VMPS enabled more value added time with providers for the patients. As seen in this article, Dr. Kaplan believes through the VMPS, the perfect patient experience is possible.