Transformation at the Mayo Clinic (Part 1)

By Leslie

Jay Parkinson. David Webster. Beth Comstock. ePatient Dave. Dondeena Bradley. The list of presenters at the Mayo Transform conference read like the who’s who of health care, from the dissenters to big corporates to designers and medical professionals, and it delivered on its promise to challenge the minds of all who attended. Our rabble rousing journey to visit our friends at the Mayo Clinic took us from our home in Chinatown to Rochester, Minnesota, where we toured, mingled and were inspired by the diverse group of attendees.

The beautiful stage set the perfect tone for the conference. It was clean, modern, sleek and decidedly non medical. The mission of the conference, to bring together the brightest minds in design and health care, was immediately apparent from the moment we entered the building to pick up our name tags. Everywhere we went, the colorful teardrops followed and reinforced Mayo’s commitment to experience. And yes – I’m a designer and have more than the usual appreciation for these details, but rarely have I seen a more well put together event. It was refreshingly modern, colorful and gave me hope that the health care system might sit up, take notice and start paying attention to design.

We started our visit with a tour of the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation (CFI), which is their hub for finding radical improvements to the patient experience. Through design and a patient-centered approach, they develop ground-breaking solutions to make the practice of medicine a better place. Their space is open, colorful and filled with signs like the below, serving as a daily reminder to be lean, go fast and iterate, iterate, iterate.

While touring the FutureWell breakout room, we noticed a familiar name on the glass.

The mind maps and whiteboarding reminded us of home.

After our tour and a few minutes gaping at the Gonda Building, we headed to the big kickoff presentation. I never realized how powerful one person’s influence could be at a conference until I saw John Hockenberry moderate Transform. He was funny, insightful and his years as a journalist on NPR and a slew of others prepared him well for the diverse backgrounds and personalities he would interview during the course of time together. And John’s own journey through the health care system as a paraplegic from age 19 was the perfect way to get things started on opening night. You can see the whole thing, along with the rest of the keynote presentations, here.

Stay tuned for day two, where the tech set raised some eyebrows.