To expand and enhance its work, the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery partners with industry and external collaborators. Such collaborations promote the sharing of ideas, insights and data to improve education, research and patient care.

Optum Labs

Through Optum Labs, a research alliance between Optum and Mayo Clinic, the center is delving into data from 149 million patients to find optimal treatments for conditions in a given setting, understand variations in care, and examine the effectiveness of patient care programs and approaches.

Optum, a technology and health services business, brings innovative analytical tools and data on 149 million UnitedHealth Group patients, including claims, laboratory values and demographic information. Mayo Clinic brings clinical data on roughly 5 million patients and patient-focused research expertise.

Optum Labs was created to facilitate combining information and ideas to improve the delivery and quality of care. All data is kept in a secure environment and, in accordance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations, no personally identifiable information is shared.

As a co-founder, Mayo Clinic contributes several key attributes to the success of Optum Labs, including:

  • Clinical and research expertise to guide research agendas and interpret comparative effectiveness results
  • De-identified clinical data across a broad array of disease sets
  • Pathways and protocols that represent best clinical practices tested and standardized at Mayo

I'm Nilay Shah and I'm a health services researcher in the Division of Health Care Policy and Research ... and the associate scientific director for Optum Labs in the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

Optum Labs is a research and development center with a focus on collaboration, innovation … with the ultimate goal of improving patient care. Data, I think, provides us a lot of insight, but really where we are headed right now increasingly, over the last decade there's been this interest of big data – which has really piqued maybe in the last two to three years. The big data discussions started primarily with genomic data. But from the delivery side, there's a ton of big data examples that exist. So there are a number of aspects to this.

One is bringing a lot of different data together. Historically, the payer data – so the claims data, and what the payers see – resides in one space. What the providers see resides in the electronic medical records and other spaces. And really the goal here is to bring it together to provide greater insight.

Benefactor support for understanding health care delivery is critical. You know, at the national level, there's a lot of money for basic science through the National Institutes of Health and a variety of other forums. There isn't the same level of support in how we deliver care.

So one of the ways that benefactor funding helps us is for us to understand what works and what doesn't, so that it improves the efficiency of health care ... and improves the outcomes for patients. And then secondarily, it helps us then disseminate the findings and have it implemented – even learn about implementing these different programs, so they can successfully achieve the same results.

So I think those are the key benefits of having benefactor funding. Because without that, for some of these things, there aren't other sources of funding. And this will really help imrpove health care deliver at Mayo Clinic and hopefully, beyond that.

Arizona State University

Mayo Clinic collaborates with Arizona State University (ASU), which is located near Mayo's campus in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz. Through the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo is partnering with ASU in several new ways.

Mayo Medical School has expanded to Mayo's Arizona campus, at which all students complete a specialized master's degree in the science of health care delivery concurrently with their medical degree. Mayo Medical School — Arizona Campus is believed to be the first medical school to offer this type of master's program.

ASU has also relocated its Biomedical Informatics Department to Mayo's Scottsdale location, which enables ASU students to work alongside Mayo Clinic physicians and scientists to improve health care delivery through biomedical informatics research and applications.

High Value Healthcare Collaborative

The center's Value Analysis Program coordinates involvement in the High Value Healthcare Collaborative, which was launched in 2010 by a group of five leading health care organizations, including Mayo Clinic and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. Today, the collaborative includes 19 member organizations that together serve a population of more than 70 million people in the United States.

The High Value Healthcare Collaborative aims to improve health and reduce costs by:

  • Examining the way health care is delivered
  • Addressing variation in treatment, cost and outcomes
  • Defining best practices
  • Developing and sharing models to reduce cost and improve quality
  • Working with health care providers and health systems, especially high-cost systems, to implement best practices

Nine high-cost, high-variation health conditions and surgeries have been identified as focus areas, with work initially focusing on orthopedic surgeries, diabetes and heart failure.