1. What is Gary Kaplan trying to achieve at Virginia Mason?
Dr. Gary Kaplan was trying to achieve change at Virginia Mason. He envisioned the transformation of Virginia Mason Medical Center into the quality leader in health care and sought to lead the organization toward this vision. When Dr. Kaplan joined VMMC what attracted him to the medical field was a collaborative team approach and Virginia Masons’ unique culture that was created in the early 1900’s. With time VMMC started to face challenges, competition was fierce and VMMC soon began to experience financial troubles. In addition, its employees were unhappy and the staff morale around the hospital was declining. Kaplan noticed that change had to be made to the way VMMC ran its hospital. Kaplan proposed that VMMC follow Toyota Production System management method to restructure the way it ran its physicians, nurses and support staff. He felt that NMMC’s goals were similar to Toyota, especially putting the customer/patient first, focus on quality and safety, and a commitment to employees. Kaplan was trying to achieve this change while keeping the unique culture that VMMC began with so many years ago.
2. How does the Toyota Production System fit into his strategy?
Dr. Kaplan and executives at VMMC had created a strategic plan focused on becoming the quality leader in healthcare; however he lacked a system to achieve this goal. Kaplan felt the Toyota Production System (TPS) was an appropriate match for the VMMC because of the similarities in goals that they both shared and desire to achieve them. VMMC’s new vision aligned with Toyota model including its priorities of putting the patient/customer first, along with satisfying quality, safety and its employees.
Traditionally, VMMC had taken cost savings approaches by consolidated less profitable business lines (obstetrics, mental health) and reducing academic spending (travel, research time). Kaplan...