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by Dr. Jim Bender
Published on 23 February 2016

In March 2014, the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt, MP, England’s Secretary of State for Health, visited Virginia Mason, in Seattle, as part of the Sign Up to Safety campaign. In the same month, Jim Bender, MD, delivered a keynote speech in London at the Cerner Collaboration Forum 2014, describing how the tragic death of a Virginia Mason patient — caused by a preventable medical error — became the catalyst for the organisation’s renewed focus on patient safety more than ten years ago.

This year, Virginia Mason will be back at the Collaboration Forum. Dr. Jim Bender, Medical Director of Clinical Informatics and Charleen Tachibana, DNP, RN, FAAN, Senior Vice President, Quality and Safety, and Chief Nursing Officer, will discuss staffing models, sepsis reduction, and patient engagement.

Seattle-based Virginia Mason has the highest user adoption rates of any Cerner patient portal with more than 125,000 people enrolled. Dr. Bender’s talk will describe their portal success. Two thirds of patients invited to use the portal have accepted their invitations and patients seen at more than 50 percent of visits have used the portal at least once. The organisation credits the high patient acceptance to provider and staff engagement, high reliability of communication, and a suite of functionality that is meeting patient needs.

The patient portal adoption success summarises how Virginia Mason approaches everything: patient first!

Through the portal, called “”, patients can view their lab results, radiology and pathology reports, their physician’s clinical notes and their medication lists. They can renew prescriptions, and exchange private messages with their care team. Requests for medical appointments can also be logged and, in nearly 50 areas, the patients can self-schedule appointments.

Virginia Mason is globally known for its innovation and experimentation and the strong development relationship with Cerner helped develop a robust patient portal.

Charleen Tachibana will be presenting at this year’s Collaboration Forum and will share the Virginia Mason experience in providing timely, evidence based care for hospitalized patients with sepsis. This work focuses on early identification and prompt intervention for patients and it rests on a foundation of care standards, disciplined staffing models, and clear accountability of team members.

Charleen Tachibana and Jim Bender will also share a conversation as they reflect on a ten-year effort aimed at the goal of zero falls with injury in hospital patients. This journey highlights the application of the Virginia Mason Production System and the innovations that are possible when supported by focus on a stretch goal and the disciplined application of Lean tools of standard work and mistake proofing to bring safety to bedside care.