The Virginia Mason Institute: Anything is Possible


The Ask:
Update a website to better serve staff and clients.

Virginia Mason has earned a reputation in health care as a leader in lean processes. Health care organizations from around the world look to the Virginia Mason to learn and implement they best practices Virginia Mason has implemented. As a result, the Virginia Mason Institute was started as a nonprofit education and consulting arm of the medical center. From the get-go, the institute was able to build its foundation with customers approaching them organically.

With a firm foundation, they are now looking to serve more people and organizations. One aspect of this initiative is to develop a new website that will lay the foundation for fast growth and long-term brand advantage by providing a world-class user experience that translates the value of services to the next generation of healthcare innovators.


A responsive and modern website that focused on usability, clarity, and inspiration. (With special considerations for SEO, improved user experience for clients and staff, clearly communicated services and offerings, and automated processes to improve overall organizational efficiency.)

The website, in turn, was more than just the front door to Virginia Mason Institute’s business. It became the lobby, a self-service kiosk, and a full-time marketing and sales tool. The update allowed people to discover more information about Virginia Mason Institute and its services, and even automated part of the sales process by providing self-service “checkout.” They also required key integrations and features that would allow them to create branded marketing pages and capture leads via an online form.

The result was a 24/7 sales and marketing tool that the team could leverage to answer questions, respond to requests, and organize a mountain of content


Beliefs are an organization’s most powerful differentiation—they drive passion and inspire vision. Once those beliefs are uncovered, we know what to communicate.

Through a Belief Session with the team at Virginia Mason Institute, we uncovered this:

The Virginia Mason Institute believes that anything is possible. Some people say there is no such thing as defect-free healthcare; others insist that the perfect patient experience is an illusion. But we are committed, we are confident, and we can transform healthcare by delivering education that inspires.


Once we know what to communicate, we can determine how to communicate. Our strategy is to map the tactics needed in order to effectively represent a brand

Before we can know how to communicate, it’s important to figure out what to communicate. After the Belief Session, some additional research was necessary:

  • Review Virginia Mason Institute established brand and messaging guides
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Develop an initial sales funnel to match Virginia Mason Institute’s business objectives

UI/UX Workshop with Key Stakeholders:

We’ve often found the biggest challenge in building a website for an organization is getting internal consensus on outcomes. Our teams worked together in a UI/UX workshop to identify and achieve alignment around the sitemap, information architecture, and initial wireframes.


Engage the right people at the right time.


Things change and often quickly, and it's expensive to have a developer on retainer—and unnecessary for many organizations.

Using custom field types gave Virginia Mason Institute the most flexibility in uploading and rendering content both now and in the future. We focused on designing different elements they could then use in different situations and orientations, allowing them to mix and match not only text, but also entire portions of the website. (Meaning they can, as needed, change the story structure of the website by moving different custom fields.) In addition to the custom fields we also created a few templates to help any website admins create pages like staff bios, new products, blog posts, and marketing landing pages.

  • CMS identified and customized to needs
  • Staging server setup
  • Responsive stylesheets & front-end development
  • Backend development
  • Content migration
  • Quality analysis & feedback on staging server
  • E-commerce
  • Custom lead capture forms.


  • Website quality analysis
  • Deployment to production server
  • Bug tracking, prioritization, and fixing
  • Training for CMS, marketing analysis, and other needs


The relationship between distribution and analysis is an ever-revolving door. Data helps us sharpen the message. Analyzing that data shows us what’s working and what’s not.

Business Integration

  • Integrate sales funnel into Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Salesforce
  • Create dashboards for marketing & sales reporting
  • Training staff on dashboards and reporting

Final Result

By the time Belief Agency turned over the reigns to The Virginia Mason Institute, their website was fully responsive, had an intuitive user experience system in place, clearly communicated the services of VMI, an automated process existed to ensure efficiency, and SEO integration was complete. Their marketing platform is in place, aligns with their brand, and is easy to use by both their clients and their staff.


Thank you again for all your work and guidance on our website project. We had a quarterly meeting recently and it started off with our executive director reading our belief statement, which has become a really core part of our messaging platform. It made me think about our decision to work with you all and reaffirmed how important that work has been—beyond the website implementation/migration. That, too, has been celebrated recently though. We have strong metrics and everyone is still commenting on how great it all turned out. So, post-project, I just wanted to let you guys know that the work you all did was incredibly meaningful to our organization. Thank you!

Carly Cannell
Project Manager
Virginia Mason Institute

Everything starts with belief. Let's uncover yours.


  • The Belief Session
  • Creative Direction
  • User Experience Design
  • Website Design & Development
  • Copywriting