Mayo Clinic's 2030 growth strategy

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic has been on the leading edge of innovation in healthcare delivery and operations for years, incorporating artificial intelligence and digital transformation into all areas of the system.

Now, the health system will focus efforts on automation to develop the workforce and hospital of the future.

"Mayo Clinic's 2030 strategy is to cure, connect and transform," said Sarah Poncelet, chair of the strategy and enterprise portfolio management office and strategic consulting services at Mayo Clinic, on an episode of the "Becker's Healthcare Podcast". "We know that we can't do it without having a robust people strategy, a workforce of the future strategy, as well as maintaining solid financial performance in a time where we're seeing a lot of financial pressures."

The health system leverages artificial intelligence, process engineering and robotics to augment the current workforce. Around 30% of medicine has the potential for automation, Ms. Poncelet said, and Mayo aims to reduce the administrative burden and manual tasks for the workforce so they can focus on human-related tasks.

The health system already has a sophisticated digital technology platform, Mayo Clinic Platform, and sees more opportunity for automation.

"We have been investing quite a bit into Mayo Clinic Platform, and we believe that's going to be the way we can transform medicine through mobilizing our intellectual property and our physicians' and care team's knowledge to reach more lives," Ms. Poncelet said. "That hits on our 'connect' and our 'transform', and if I were to talk through our investment in 'cures', it's really staying on the cutting edge of the current and future state of medicine."

The discussion on the future of medicine leads to the future of hospitals in general. What services should be done in the hospital setting? What are the future treatment options for patients? How can healthcare reimagine diagnostics? All these questions are closely considered as Mayo's executive team develops their long-term plans.

"Through our platform, we're going to have a lot of data and knowledge that when we utilize new technologies, like machine learning, we'll create faster discoveries," said Ms. Poncelet. "We think we'll be able to get to discoveries and trends and information in a faster way so that we can get better and newer treatment options to patients as well as intercept disease. That's some of the areas we're really hoping we can drive forward in the future."

The team takes McKinsey's three horizons model to think about the current core business versus the adjacent versus transformative business and what percentage of investment should go to each. The health system has made significant investment in the core business of the physical hospital and clinical settings. But the other areas could gain traction in the future.

"Diagnostics is really interesting to me as we think about how care is delivered in an increasingly fragmented market where we've seen a lot of new entrants, specifically in retail and technology entering into the healthcare setting," said Ms. Poncelet. "They now have more point solutions for patients and we might be losing some of the longitudinal care, both in the data and knowledge of how a patient is navigating across care settings, especially when they need to move into more serious complex care."

Mayo executives are also thinking about the best partnerships to expand into the broader healthcare ecosystem beyond the inpatient hospital setting. They are examining ways to pull together the best services for primary care, ASCs, hospitalization and everything in between. They're also thinking creatively about shifting patients out of the hospital setting.

"We've invested in advanced care at home with a partner, Medically Home, to really shift patients out of that hospital setting as quickly as we can for their own high quality outcomes as well as their experience and desiring to be at home after a hospitalization or surgery," said Ms. Poncelet. "As Mayo grows, it's going to be about how we achieve healthcare outcomes collectively with more partners and meet patients where they're at while they're searching for healthcare information."

The technology advancement can expand Mayo's footprint without significantly expanding its workforce by triaging and connecting with patients virtually. The ability to track and analyze patient data can also augment the workforce and lead to better patient outcomes.

"The more mature we see automation and augmentation of our workforce through AI, robots and process automation or process engineering is going to be really seeing how we delivered care in the past and how it will look different in the future; and how do we work smarter and not harder," she said.

In addition to clinical care, Mayo is looking for ways to advance and scale its business function with automation. The health system is already adding automation to certain revenue cycle functions, training all revenue cycle team members to build bots to support their work.

"There is a core team that walks through ensuring those bots are really solid and then coordinate with Epic on making sure that if we can get a system upgrade, we will. But they have been able to have bots working 23-and-a-half hours a day going through and processing claims, going through our denials, sending out reports and ensuring accuracy so we didn't miss any of our billing against our contracts," said Ms. Poncelet.

Mayo aims to scale the automation process beyond the back office functions in the revenue cycle to other areas and departments ripe for transformation.

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