Exclusive: Why Mayo Clinic set up shop at Mall of America

Dr. David Hayes

Dr. David Hayes

In an effort to reach out and engage patients, Mayo Clinic set up shop in an unlikely spot--the mall. The "Create Your Mayo Clinic Health Experience" in the Mall of America offers shoppers with a personalized experience that's part health and wellness and part retail store. The 2,500-square-foot space has the high-tech, modern feel of an Apple store and offers an interactive library of Mayo Clinic health information.

FierceHealthcare talked with Dr. David Hayes, medical director of the Create Your Mayo Clinic Health Experience at Mall of America, about the Clinic's new, innovative project.

FierceHealthcare: What factors drove Mayo Clinic to open the Health Experience center at the Mall of America?
David Hayes:
Mayo Clinic believes healthcare in the future won't be limited to doctors' offices and hospitals. Medicine needs to adapt to peoples' changing needs, including seeing people where they are and when it is convenient for them. Mall of America is the ideal gateway for many of Mall of America's visitors to access Mayo Clinic in non-traditional ways.

FH: What is Mayo Clinic hoping to achieve with the center? Are there any financial incentives for Mayo Clinic?
Mayo Clinic is hoping to provide an opportunity for people to define their own wellness goals, access interactive information, and explore resources dedicated to their health. This is a personalized engagement that is part health and wellness experience and part retail store. While we will have limited clinical offerings at this time, the motivation for this space is not financial.

FH: You mentioned the Health Experience center is part retail store. What type of services can patients purchase at the center and at what prices?

Mayo Clinic

Image courtesy of Mayo Clinic

Hayes: Mayo strives to be an affordable healthcare provider. We will be offering limited health and wellness packages available to help guests achieve their wellness goals. These offerings vary based on feedback from our guests and are paired with our themes of eating well, relaxing, movement, sleep, and motivation. Beginning in 2012, we have plans to offer advanced wellness assessments, fitness consults, genetic counseling, family planning counseling, and cardiovascular risk assessments, among others.

FH: How is the center offering personalized health and wellness experiences? What type of employees work at the center?
Create Your Mayo Clinic Health Experience is staffed primarily by health experience navigators. The navigators are trained wellness professionals who help guests identify their wellness goals and access the information and resources necessary to achieve them. Whether guests want to ask a quick question or engage in a private consultation, our Mayo Clinic health experience navigators are there to help them customize their experience. For example, individuals may take a self-directed wellness assessment on site, and the health experience navigators are able to walk through the results with the individual and, in the near future, will be able to provide a more in-depth wellness assessment in an adjacent location. They can also answer health-related questions and/or access information for the customer through many Mayo resources.

FH: How has the response been so far to the center?
As you can imagine, bringing Mayo Clinic to Mall of America has created a lot of buzz, and we are pleased with the tremendous interest in this health and wellness experience.

FH: What has been the most common patient concern or ailment, and how has the center been able to address the problem?
Because this is a personalized [and] private engagement with Mayo Clinic, we are not tracking these kinds of things. But, as you can imagine, this large population of visitors from a cross-section of our community has widely varying questions about their health and wellness.

FH: Does Mayo Clinic plan to open similar Health Experience centers in the future?
There are no plans for other projects like this. The Mall of America project will, however, enable Mayo Clinic to learn about adapting its services to other settings. What we learn could have implications in other locations. If we find this is an excellent venue and method by which to connect with more people on issues relating to their health and wellness, we will give further consideration to how and where we would apply this is in the future.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.