Mayo Clinic eyes digital transformation to plan for future

Left to right: Tara Gosse, director of clinical innovation at Mayo Clinic, Nurse Administrator Heidi Shedenhelm and Adam Copeland, director of digital strategy at Mayo Clinic, speak Wednesday at the HIMSS24 conference in Orlando.

Photo: Jeff Lagasse/Healthcare Finance News

ORLANDO – The physical assets of many hospitals and healthcare facilities in the U.S. are degrading and need investment, but when replacing an old building, it’s not enough to simply rebuild it brick-by-brick. Digital technology in healthcare is developing rapidly, and any new construction projects should take this into account.

To achieve the vision of a transformed physical and digital healthcare environment, a team at Mayo Clinic developed a comprehensive digital strategy. This strategy involved several key steps, including the development of a “future state vision” and forming guiding digital imperatives.

At HIMSS24 in Orlando, in a session titled “Designing New Digitally-Enabled, Human-Centered Clinical Space,” the Mayo team shared their insights.

The Mayo team has been working on this project in earnest since 2020, and throughout Phases 0 and 1 they made key decisions about the long-term master plan – a plan that includes a multiyear timeline for investing in digital experiences. The plan is to have one new facility built by 2028 and five buildings fully operational by 2030.

In total, the plan is to have 2.4 million new square feet of construction, with two buildings dedicated to supporting ongoing enhancements in clinical care. 

“It’s truly about investment in new digital capabilities,” said Tara Gosse, director of clinical innovation at Mayo Clinic. “This gives us an incredible new opportunity to look at our infrastructure, systems and designs to focus on the needs of our patients.”

According to Nurse Administrator Heidi Shedenhelm, utility expansion and modernization will feature more sustainable heating with climate-controlled facilities. Mayo is also looking at ways the physical building can blur the line between inpatient and outpatient care.

“We don’t even talk about it being a hospital anymore,” said Shedenhelm, “but a place where we’ll provide care and that will allow patients to experience that holistic care at every stage in their journey.”

The buildings will be designed for maximum flexibility, with a design concept allowing for the conversion of spaces for alternate uses, meaning they can be reconfigured based on the evolving care models that will roll out over the coming decades. 

Adam Copeland, director of digital strategy at Mayo Clinic, said digital transformation is not about gadgets and devices, but about finding new ways to enable humanistic, patient-centered care.

“We want to have a hyper-personalized experience, emphasizing that we know you and we know what your needs are,” said Copeland. “As we imagine the future, we do that not thinking of screens and technology first, but human experiences first, with technology enabling the human experiences we’re seeking.”

Examples of such technology include robots that deliver medical equipment at the sound of someone’s voice, personalized music playing for a patient, and importantly, systems integration and interoperability – which Gosse said will serve as the backbone of new investment in facilities.

“It will be an invisible spine allowing us to orchestrate data-driven experiences,” said Gosse. 

These improvements and initiatives stand to benefit more than just patients. Shedenhelm said it will also create a better future for Mayo Clinic staff, as well as the broader community through the creation of jobs, which is expected to have a notable financial impact in the Rochester, Minnesota community.

“It’s transformation from the inside out,” said Shedenhelm. “It doesn’t only rely on the expertise of Mayo Clinic, but many others who came together around our community.”

Jeff Lagasse is editor of Healthcare Finance News.
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare Finance News is a HIMSS Media publication.


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