Newswise — SEATTLE – (Oct. 17, 2017) – At Virginia Mason Medical Center, all team members are encouraged to use resources of the organization’s management system to develop, test and implement creative solutions to real and potential barriers.

The best ideas will be celebrated at the annual Innovation Expo, Wednesday, Oct. 18, on the medical center’s main campus.

Featured at the event will be the:

  • Patient Family Partner program, which recruits patients and their family members to participate in workshops and initiatives designed to improve quality, safety and the patient experience.
  • Immersive scientific visualization, a computer program developed by Benaroya Research Institute team members that, when paired with virtual reality technology, empowers scientists to manipulate models of proteins and enlarge microscope images to colorful, 3–dimensional images offering 360-degree views. This invention promises to advance scientific and medical insights into immune system disorders.
  • Down syndrome project for children diagnosed with the genetic disorder and their families.
  • A special mobile container, dubbed the Cog/Comm Cart, equipped with resources to support communications between caregivers and their patients who have cognitive disorders and those at risk for delirium.

“At Virginia Mason, we innovate from the ground up,” said Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD. “Every team member is encouraged to share their suggestions and look for ways we can improve. By submitting ideas and participating in kaizen activities, everyone is empowered to make things better for our patients and our teams.”

Kaizen (continuous improvement) events and innovation are foundational to Virginia Mason’s vision to transform health care.

“We define innovation as ‘directed creativity implemented’,” Dr. Kaplan said. “That means we focus our energy and creativity on problems that need new ideas to make progress, we use our Virginia Mason Production System tools to bring forth potential creative solutions, and then we test and implement the best of those ideas. Risk-taking is essential along the way because we won’t truly transform our work if we’re too afraid to fail.”

The second annual Virginia Mason Innovation Expo will be underway from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Blackford Hall, 1202 Terry Ave., Seattle. The event is open to the public. Admission is free.

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