Volunteer Programs

Welcome to the Mayo Clinic Volunteer Programs page. Volunteers play a key role in making a difference for Mayo Clinic patients and visitors. Mayo Clinic volunteers provide patients and visitors with hospitality, services and amenities that would otherwise not be available. Follow this page to stay up-to-date on information and happenings pertaining to Mayo Clinic Volunteer Programs, as well as information that may be valuable when fulfilling your volunteer shifts.

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Fri, Aug 2 6:00pm

Innovation & Design: Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast

By prudyknaak, @prudyknaak

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.

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