The Science of Best Practice

In 2017, the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery merged with Mayo Clinic's Innovation and Design and Informatics and Knowledge Management groups.

Led by Associate Dean for Practice Transformation Andrew H. Limper, M.D., a pulmonary specialist and medical researcher at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, the expanded center brings together and enhances Mayo's extensive efforts in health care delivery research; clinical informatics, systems engineering and health information technology; and value, quality and policy analysis.

Transformational research at the heart of best practice

The charge of the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery is to transform clinical practice by developing, analyzing and rapidly diffusing innovative solutions to deliver high-value care.

With the addition of Innovation and Design, the center fuses design principles with the scientific method to discover and address human needs in the health care environment. The team uses proven and imaginative design methods, including ethnographic and observational techniques, visualization, prototyping, sketching, storytelling, and brainstorming.

Together with patients, health care providers and other researchers, innovation team members apply empathy, creativity and systems thinking with a human-centered focus. The complement of design allows the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery to think beyond what normally occurs in health care and serve as a translator for ideas and possibilities.

By incorporating Informatics and Knowledge Management, the center is now home to the most advanced information and knowledge management techniques. Combined with innovative technology, Mayo's knowledge is translated to address patients' needs and the needs of all those whose health and well-being are touched by Mayo Clinic. The Informatics and Knowledge Management team also provides oversight for the robust infrastructure necessary to drive curation, storage and sophisticated delivery to clinical practice.

The Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery includes three focused research programs looking for ways to improve patient care while lowering costs: the Care Experience Program, the Population Health Science Program and the Surgical Outcomes Program.

The center's Health Care Systems Engineering Program seeks to solve complex health care issues using engineering principles. Research in this area has led to improvements in patient and care provider safety. It has also improved efficiency and access to care, and has resulted in increases in both patient and staff satisfaction.

The Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery is also home to the Office of Health Care Practice and Policy, a focused resource for Mayo Clinic to leverage its unique assets in value and quality measurement, risk adjustment, economic analyses, and alternative payment models to inform the national conversation on health care reform.

Other overarching services link the center and other Mayo researchers to research-enhancing resources, including knowledge synthesis, economic evaluation and qualitative research services.

Further, the center's education program works to advance the understanding and application of health care delivery science within Mayo Clinic and beyond. It seeks to nurture health care delivery scientists who conduct research that propels innovation in clinical practice.