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Aug 2, 2019 · Innovation & Design: Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast in Volunteer Programs

Innovation & Design

One morning while sitting at the Welcome Desk, I was intrigued by the number of people who were using their cell phone to navigate Mayo Clinic. I thought, what a terrific help this was to patients and wondered where the idea for a Mayo App came from. After doing some research and making the appropriate connections, I ended up on Gonda 16, opening a door to a bright and exciting departmental space established to transform the delivery of health and health care in practice of medicine. I met with Ryan Cardarella, a Communication Specialist with Innovation & Design, part of the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. What an intriguing thought – the science of health care delivery.

In 2002, Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., now the CEO of Mayo Clinic, Nicholas LaRusso, M.D., and Barbara Spurrier, now Managing Director of Well Living Lab, joined together to begin SPARC (See, Plan, Act, Refine, Communicate), an innovation program to address the unmet needs of patients and providers. This grew to become the Center for Innovation in 2008, which has since worked on 400 projects and developed a deep knowledge of people and patient journeys at Mayo Clinic. The team (now known as Innovation & Design) continues to create a vision for the future by being embedded in the delivery of the health care process to design, develop and test innovations that bring about improvement in the delivery of health and health care. There are staff members encompassing all three campuses: Rochester, Phoenix, and Jacksonville. Once an idea is taken through the process from idea to solution, the project is handed off for implementation into designated areas or an operational home.

During my visit, I learned more about two recent projects that have been researched. One is the OB Nest project in which women with no underlying medical issues use e-appointments with their care teams, thereby reducing face-to-face appointments during pregnancy. Through the project, patients are provided with the tools, materials, and insights to handle routine care at home. A support system featuring other OB Nest patients is also established.

Another project includes having a digital whiteboard in hospital rooms for communication between the physician, staff and the patient. The board includes physician and medical team information and pictures. It also provides a daily listing of patient activities, from food delivery to scheduled therapy and treatments. The whiteboard features goals that need to be met before release from the hospital. Additionally, there is space for the patient or family member to write questions they may have for the medical team. This ensures important questions are answered during the next medical visit. The digital whiteboard is intended to lessen stress on the patient and family.

Visiting Innovation & Design was interesting and challenging — seeing the ‘now’ in health care delivery and envisioning the future and how Mayo Clinic is preparing to meet the future of health and health care delivery. It is truly amazing and a science. This was an incredible learning, and all from just wondering about the Mayo App on a cell phone.

Jul 26, 2019 · Volunteer Profile: Kaushik Kancharla in Volunteer Programs

Kaushik Photo

Let me introduce you to Kaushik Kancharla. He is a 2019 Century High School graduate who attended University of Minnesota Rochester as a PSEO (Post-Secondary Education Opportunity) student.  Five students are accepted into the program each year and challenged to begin college early.  Besides attending college classes each day, he was also a Mayo Clinic Young Volunteer exemplifying all the valued traits of an outstanding volunteer.

During our conversation, Kaushik identified the three keys to opening the door to a positive patient and visitor experience.  His first key is reliability, which is demonstrated by always being on time and by being available to substitute for others when asked.  Professionalism is his second key to success.  He understands that volunteers are a part of the face of Mayo Clinic and must always be in the proper attire, must always wear a bright smile, and have the knowledge to answers questions of patients and visitors. As a surgical messenger at Saint Marys Campus, this was imperative for Kaushik. Key three is to demonstrate caring and support of patients and visitors by finding a commonality between the patient and visitor and himself through words and actions. He was positive about making the patient and visitor feel like they are in a pleasant place and not just a hospital setting.   Meeting Kaushik made me stop and think how much today’s teens have to offer and how important it is for us to acknowledge and be proud of them in all that they do.  Thank you for that lesson.

Kaushik values his strong work ethic, his interest in medicine, his family and friends, and the opportunities he has had by being part of Mayo Clinic.  He is an exceptional mentor to the teens in the Mayo Clinic Young Volunteers Program.

Jul 18, 2019 · An inside look at Mayo Clinic's Emergency Communication Center in Volunteer Programs


Located in the ground-level of the Generose Building is Mayo Clinic’s Emergency Communication Center (ECC) where 911 medical emergency calls are answered for Rochester, Austin, Albert Lea, Fairmont, Mankato, Owatonna, Litchfield, St. Cloud, Duluth, and Little Falls in Minnesota and Superior, Barron and Osseo in Wisconsin and an interfacility ambulance in Eau Claire. The ECC handles 911 medical emergency calls that are forwarded to them from Primary Service Answering Points (PSAPs) dispatch centers in the Mayo Clinic Medical Transport service areas. When someone dials 911, these calls are automatically routed to PSAPs. A dispatcher determines if the call is a law enforcement or public safety concern or a medical issue. Medical calls are nearly instantaneously routed to the ECC.

The ECC has the ability to dispatch 40 to 50 ambulances, three Mayo Clinic medical helicopters, and Mayo’s fixed wing airplane for emergency treatment and transport from a scene of injury or illness or between medical facilities. Last year, 114,000 calls came into the center requesting medical help and/or transport.

On the day I arrived at the center, I met with Jason Bartelt, assistant supervisor, and was given a tour of the facility which was relocated to the Generose Building basement in 1994. There are ten peak time and six night-time Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) working 12-hour shifts on desks that raise to a standing position or lower to a sitting position to enable dispatchers to adjust their work stations to keep active and alert through their shifts. As calls come in, the EMD identifies the nature of the call, collects general information of the situation and location and, through a series of protocol cards, asks questions specific to the call; the answers determine the most appropriate response.

Within 30 to 90 seconds, the EMD dispatches an ambulance and medical help to the emergency location. If the location is within the immediate Rochester area, an ambulance is dispatched. If the emergency is outside the designated Rochester area, a helicopter can be dispatched along with an ambulance to the scene if certain criteria are met. Either ambulance personnel or first responders, upon arriving at the location, can confirm the helicopter need or have it returned to base. The need is determined by the severity of the injury or medical problem and the distance of transport. Ground ambulances will transport the patient to the nearest hospital where the patient will be stabilized before transport to a larger trauma center such as Mayo Clinic Hospital — Saint Marys Campus if needed.

When an ambulance is dispatched, it carries at least one paramedic and an emergency medical technician (EMT) who begin assessment and treatment and remain in contact with the Emergency Communication Center. The ECC acts as a connecting point with the medical responders and the Emergency Department. Upon arrival at the hospital, the ambulance or helicopter is met with an informed and prepared medical team that is ready to go into action.

The logistics and symmetry of the process is amazing, and those of us who have experienced making a 911 call know the preciseness of the system that saves the lives of those in a medical emergency.