Virginia Mason Medical Center Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


Virginia mason medical center was established in 1920 as an 80-bed clinic and with six offices. It is a private and non-profit organization located in Seattle, Washington, USA. The center is co-founded by two doctors, James Tate Mason and John M.Blackford. The founders’ vision is to provide patients single space, where they could receive the comprehensive medical care services and quality products. The mission of VMMC is to improve the health and well-being of the patients we serve, by providing wide range of quality products and services. In 1986, VMMC needed to expand services and technology in order to gain competitive advantage. As a result, VMMC restricted itself from a physician partnership into single non-profit organization.

As the case states, Physician Dr. Gary Kaplan believed in corporate culture in Virginia mason medical center, therefore, he considered this case as a collaborative approach. The Kaplan became CEO of VMMC in 2000, when the medical center is facing difficult times and losing money for the first time in the history. Moreover, the percentage of staff morale was declining and rising threats from competitors. In 2001, Kaplan develops a strategy to set up a systematic program in order to bring change in VMMC delivered healthcare to improve quality and services.

Gary envisioned the transformation of Virginia mason medical center into quality leader in health care. However, the organization faces many challenges to achieve the vision such as fierce competition, lack of resources and financial troubles. Therefore, the organization wants to implement Toyota production system (TPS), and make leaders aware of this method that eliminate waste and improve quality. The organization recognized that the TPS attributes such as customer’s first priority, focus on quality, obsession with safety, high staff satisfaction and high economic enterprise, are similar with the VMMC’s goals and objective such as, to the quality leader and transform the health care. Therefore, the organization should propose a strategy to utilize effective tools to execute strategy and gain revenue in the near future.


The VMPS’ implementation strategy includes the medical center that creates an infrastructure, designed around the VMPS operations and kaizen promotion offices. The responsibility of the KPOs is overseeing, leading and coaching units through RPIWs, as well as facilitating everyday lean. The purpose of lean thinking is to eliminate the waste so that all works add value to the organizations and serves customers’ needs effectively; this strategy will lead VMMC to gain competitive edge over competitors. VM should also hire skilled and experts that provide training to employees, this will lead to expand operations and increase its revenue in the near future.

Identifying add value and non-add value step in very process is the beginning of the journey of lean operations. In order to implement lean principles to take roots, the organization should proposed strategy to create an organizational culture that is receptive to lean thinking. The commitment to lean principles must start at very top of the organization, the company must involve top level management and the entire staff to bring creative and innovative ideas in order to redesign processes to improve flow and reduce waste. The customers are more attracted towards cost effective strategy and quality goods and services. The purpose of the everyday lean idea is to set the standard and initiate a process of submitting the proposals and implementing successful solutions. The flowchart of lean manufacturing and Kaizen promotion offices are in the exhibits.


According to the case, there are a number of challenges and issues faced by the Virginia Mason such as economic conditions, financial losses, low staff morale and fierce competition. Furthermore, sustainability issues, safety challenges, talent retention problem and a defective product. The major challenge faced by VMMC is the cost trimming product rationalization. It would be difficult for the organization to establish the sense of urgency because VMMC are not able to respond on rapidly changing environment. The slogan of VMMC is we change or we die.

However, changing vast organization leads to high time consumption and huge investment. The company should gather feedback and response of the patients to further prove the working environment of the organization, but collecting large data is a challenge itself. Moreover, VMMC wants to apply TPS methods in order to reduce costs and improve quality products and services. One of the biggest challenges of health care system is to focus on patients, his perspective on partnership and apply effective leadership in the organization to further improve the revenue and profits....................

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