Newswise — SEATTLE – (May 8, 2014) – A new book about Virginia Mason’s journey to transform health care has received the 2014 Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award, becoming the second volume about the health system to earn this prize.

The new book, titled “Accelerating Health Care Transformation with Lean and Innovation: The Virginia Mason Experience,” is written by innovation expert Paul Plsek. It explores how lean management principles, transparency and a commitment to continuous improvement can be integrated into an organization to help health care leaders achieve their goals.

The work also addresses the perceived conflict between lean (which involves creating standard work to eliminate non-value or wasteful activities) and innovation. Using Virginia Mason as a case study, Plsek concludes that creative thinking goes hand-in-hand with lean thinking.

The Shingo Award – which recognizes and advances new knowledge about operational excellence – was presented by The Shingo Institute during the 26th Shingo International Conference in Sandusky, Ohio this week. Plsek's 196-page book was published in 2014 by CRC Press.

“This recognition is also an honor for our team members who use lean and innovation every day to deliver the best care to our patients while creating an environment in which our teams can do their very best work,” said Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD.

This is the second book about Virginia Mason to win the Shingo Award. The first, titled “Transforming Health Care: Virginia Mason Medical Center’s Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience” and written by Charles Kenney, received the prize in 2011.

In 2002, Virginia Mason adapted the philosophy and management principles of the Toyota Production System to elevate efficiency, quality and safety in its delivery of health care. This innovative approach, called the Virginia Mason Production System, has helped the organization to earn a global reputation as a quality leader.

About the Shingo InstituteHoused at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, the Shingo Institute is named after Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo. Dr. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world’s thought leaders in concepts, management systems and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Business System. Drawing from Dr. Shingo’s teachings and years of experience working with organizations throughout the world, the Shingo Institute has developed the Shingo Model™ which is the basis for several educational offerings including workshops, study tours and conferences. It also awards and recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that continually strives for improvement and progress. Website:

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, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety.

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