Mayo Clinic developing a new way to 'transform' health care

Davos meeting
Mayo President and CEO Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., right, is talks with by Chris Gade Chair of Public Affairs at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland in a Facebook live stream broadcast Tuesday.
We are part of The Trust Project.

Mayo Clinic leaders are looking at creating a "platform" to pave the way to transform health care and help extend the clinic’s global reach.

Talk of developing a new technology platform to advance health care was one of the topics brought up at this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland . This is Mayo Clinic’s eighth year at the prestigious event. This year’s theme is globalization.

Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Bolton and Department of Public Affairs Chairman Chris Gade are attending the annual forum with about 2,500 leaders from around the world "to share ideas and shape agendas that are of global interest."

"We’re in the earliest stages of creating a health care-centric platform that is built around clinical knowledge," Farrugia said during a Facebook Live presentation Tuesday. "This is really important for us. We’re committed to this global collaboration."

Mayo Clinic cites Google, AirBNB and Uber as examples of firms that use such platforms.


Such a technology system could drill into research data and use artificial intelligence to find more efficient and cost-effective ways to treat patients, as well as identifying potentially valuable business opportunities.

Wisconsin’s Epic Systems is also known for an electronic health records platform, which it recently installed at all of Mayo Clinic’s sites for an estimated $1 billion. Epic owns a data center in Rochester, which is purchased from Mayo Clinic. Epic is the first-non Rochester tenant to sign up for office space in the under-construction One Discovery Square complex.

While Farrugia didn’t offer a lot of details on Tuesday, he emphasized that plans will be to use technology to analyze Mayo Clinic’s more than 150 years of patient data and build more partnerships.

"This is tightly linked to the legacy of Mayo Clinic," he said. "The founders were visionary. They created the first unified medical record and the first united health care system.

"Now we have the technology to do exactly the same thing, but on a much broader scale," Farrugia said. "This really brings together the union of forces that the Mayo brothers talked about and globalizes it."

Mayo Clinic is hosting a breakfast panel discussion today with theme of "Making the Case for Big Thinking: Realizing the Value of Visionary Investment." A group of 50 "thought leaders and business leaders" are expected to participate in "an honest and frank discussion … about the performance tensions leaders face and how to approach or address those demands as well as keep stakeholders engaged in the big vision."

The concept of an unified platform for Mayo Clinic and partners was also discussed earlier this month at the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference .

Mayo Clinic Chief Financial Officer Dennis Dahlen was quoted at the event as saying, "In many ways, at Mayo, we are already operating as a platform today, but we have to continue to leverage this approach to uncover additional ways that we can be a hub for both health and health care in our community."


Farrugia stressed that this project needs a lot of collaborators on a global scale to reach its potential.

"No health care organization that could do this on its own," he said. "You need government, industry, biopharma, investors and, most importantly, patients and consumers.

"Patients and consumers will benefit from it, because they will get access to health care earlier and, hopefully, better health care. Partners gain knowledge from and, hopefully, products."

What to read next
Sound and electrical stimulation may offer hope for people suffering from chronic pain and other conditions. Researchers are exploring the combination with the goal of developing treatments that are safer and more accessible than opioid medication. Viv Williams has details of a new study in this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion."
Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association will decide whether to strike following what they see as a lack of action from hospital executives during contract negotiations.
When those first baby teeth appear, it's time to start teaching little ones about good dental health. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams consults a pediatric dentist about when kids should have their first dental appointment and she shares tips on brushing.
Long road trips provide ample time for both reflection and rumination — the good and the bad of hours and hours spent behind the wheel. In this Health Fusion column, Viv Williams shares stories of a recent drive to Colorado and how a pit stop at a botanical garden's butterfly house made a faulty air conditioner tolerable and brought meaning to the buzz word "mindfulness."