Innovation and Design

Within the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, the Innovation and Design team addresses unmet needs of patients and providers, producing novel ideas, methods and technology that have transformed the medical practice.

Embedded within Mayo Clinic's practice, the Innovation and Design team discovers new ways to quickly transform the experience and delivery of health and health care. Discoveries translate into evidence-based, actionable treatments, processes and procedures that improve care for patients everywhere.

A multifaceted approach to innovation

Interdisciplinary groups within Innovation and Design fuse design principles with the scientific method to uncover needs in the health care environment, which include empathy, creativity, systems thinking and a human-centered focus. Each group begins with big ideas formed around people's needs, frames those ideas as opportunities, defines and refines the concepts, and moves fast to validate tangible models that can be scaled.

The team uses a wide range of design methods to translate ideas and open the door to innovative thinking. Strategies include but are not limited to:

  • Brainstorming
  • Ethnographic and observational techniques
  • Prototyping
  • Sketching
  • Storytelling
  • Visualization

Proven success in transformational design

Since 2008, the Innovation and Design team has developed a deep, complex knowledge of people and patient journeys at Mayo Clinic through more than 20,000 hours of direct patient observations and more than 400 projects. Harnessing this knowledge, Innovation and Design has engaged with clinical, research and educational areas across Mayo Clinic to produce transformational health care practices.

Examples of how Innovation and Design's work has been applied to the clinical setting include:

  • As a partnership with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the OB Nest project implemented a pregnancy care model that allows low-risk patients to interact with their care teams from home.
  • The Mayo Clinic patient app has simplified and improved the patient experience throughout the clinic since its inception in 2012.
  • Team members assisted in creating new service lines, such as one in advance of Food and Drug Administration approval for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy for lymphoma.
  • Family history collection software developed in collaboration with the Department of Clinical Genomics halves the time genetic counselors need to identify familial risks. The software is a tool for use across the practice to recognize crucial familial health indicators.
  • The team's early work with business modeling and feature definition evolved the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center into a center that today serves multiple populations throughout Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Innovation and Design team was previously known as the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation. In 2017, the team joined the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, along with a group specializing in informatics and knowledge management.

As a result, the integrated Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery draws on a unique breadth and depth of resources, combining research, technology and innovation to translate ideas and findings into real-world applications across Mayo Clinic. Results are disseminated as widely as possible, leading to practice change for patients beyond the walls of Mayo Clinic as well.


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