Inside Mayo Clinic's $5B 'digitized' hospital

Mayo Clinic leaders say their new $5 billion campus will provide a digital and patient experience that will still be relevant decades into the future.

Set to be completed in 2030, Mayo's redeveloped flagship hospital in Rochester, Minn., will be "fully digitized," according to Heidi Shedenhelm, DNP, RN, nurse administrator at Mayo Clinic, speaking at last week's HIMSS 2024 conference in Orlando, Fla.

The Mayo leaders said to not even think of the new campus as a hospital, but rather part of a continuous care journey spanning virtual, inpatient, outpatient and at-home treatment, seamlessly blending digital and physical care.

"One of our values of stewardship is really thinking about, yes, what technology will be in the next 10 years, but how do we design a building that's going to support Mayo Clinic care for the next 50 and 100 years?" said Adam Copeland, PhD, director of digital strategy for Mayo Clinic, during the HIMSS session.

Right now, health systems are adopting ambient listening technology that documents patient visits via physicians' iPhones; Mayo Clinic envisions its new buildings being able to do that.

"We're really starting to think and to understand how our buildings can serve as a member of the care team," said Tara Gosse, director of clinical innovation at Mayo Clinic. "How might our buildings help augment conversations — listen, record, help alleviate some of the administrative burden placed on our care team members — so that our care team members can do what they do best, which is listen, engage and support our patients?"

Before patients even arrive at Mayo, the hospital will know their preferences for everything from where they'll be parking in one of the new 1,300 spots to the lighting in their room.

"So imagine a patient in the future comes and is receiving treatment, and their favorite music starts to ambiently play in the background, the lights dimmer to their preference, and they really feel this sense of hope and healing and comfort amidst a very challenging time," Ms. Gosse explained.

Think about how you set up your flying experience via an app — from checking in to paying for bags — before you even arrive at the airport, Dr. Shedenhelm said. That said, some patients will still prefer an all in-person patient experience (the flying analogy is a traveler who still prints their boarding pass at the airport), so Mayo will continue to offer that as well.

People, the leaders say, will remain at the center of healthcare. "As we work in this process, it's easy to think through those exciting fancy screens and awesome VR/AR experiences — and those may have their place," Dr. Copeland said. "But the goal is humans interacting with humans, that central humanity that draws that hope and healing. So as we imagine the future, we do that not thinking of screens and technology first, but thinking of human experiences first and technology enabling the human experiences we're seeking."

The five new buildings will total over 2.4 million square feet, three-fourths of it for clinical care. They will include a "subway" system connected to a logistics center from which robots will deliver supplies.

"Imagine a future where you need some medical gauze and you go into that supply room and you say 'gauze,' and a wall panel opens, lighting peaks up and that supply is delivered to you," Ms. Gosse said. "And it's been stamped into inventory overnight by an autonomous robot or, even better yet, a predictive resource delivery."

She added: "As we think about the future, instead of even going to that medical supply closet, our aspirations at the highest level are that those supplies could come right to the bedside or right to the patient's home."

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