At each of three campuses, located in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida, Mayo Clinic is busy expanding hospital, clinic and treatment facilities.  These building projects are designed to offer leading approaches in medicine, centered on diagnosis and treatment of difficult diseases – the key to Mayo’s worldwide reputation as one of the top providers of health care.

Jim Yolch, leads Mayo Clinic’s global business solutions, taking Mayo beyond traditional medical centers into consumer ventures that include Mayo’s digital platform, as well as publishing and retail partnerships.  Yolch is interested in how Mayo effectively connects with consumers.  To prove the point, he notes that their website receives 2 billion inquiries for medical information each year.

So, how does Mayo take 150 years of accumulated medical research and know-how and repackage it for consumption by the general public?  That’s what Yolch and his team get to think about every day.  “We’re, seeing more interest in digital and virtual interactions.  The smart phone and the technology that we all carry around in our pockets today has reshaped how we buy things, including health care.  We’re just a few clicks away.  So, how bricks and mortar can serve healthcare versus how digital can serve healthcare in the future – both are being shaped by consumerism.”

This doesn’t mean that Mayo Clinic is less involved in real estate.  In recent years, these new commercial ventures have taken Mayo into malls, bookstores, sports medicine facilities and even resorts.  Yolch said, “You may see Mayo and other providers moving into retail locations with very specific practices combining things like dermatology, plastic surgery, and ENT.” Still, the core of the medical practice can be found in three destination medical centers in Rochester, Jacksonville and Scottsdale, where hospitals and clinics combine to serve patients.

The next big frontier has arrived at Mayo, as it has at other hospitals and clinics, and that is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to help diagnose and treat disease and illnesses. Yolch explained, “The amount of data that we now have from 10 to 15 million patient records is significant.  When you think about artificial intelligence and machine learning combined with 5G technology, we can start to build models for predicting outcomes without really collecting a specimen from the patient.”  This means patients may stay closer to home in the future, receiving less intensive forms of medical care or advice (Mayo/Google announcement here).

Health care as an industry will soon equal one-fifth of our economy, or close to a trillion dollars in expenditures annually.  No wonder technology giants and startups alike have trained their collective gaze on health care and are ready to disrupt business as usual.  Yolch is in just the right place to imagine how technology can actually improve health care delivery.

“Bringing that kind of technology to health care is what excites me about some of the things that I’m working on right now, where we can really serve more patients in a better way.   And for those that we can help, we can get them to our campuses sooner if they need to be seen.” Yolch explains that more patients will connect with Mayo digitally or virtually, and then follow up with local providers.  “We can use technology to better connect patients with the care they need.  That’s what really gets me excited every day.”

Bill Griffith practices land use, real estate and municipal law at Larkin Hoffman.  He represents Mall of America and the City of Columbus, Minnesota, as well as other owners, managers and developers of real estate.  He has a special interest in sustainable solutions to land use and development challenges.