Straight Talk - "Lessons from Mayo"

May 29, 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

August will mark our two-year anniversary as Florida’s first and the nation’s seventh affiliate of Mayo Clinic. Two years ago, few of us could envision the many benefits in terms of shared knowledge and best practices that would result from our important relationship with this 150-year-old iconic institution. (

An essential part of this relationship is the periodic meetings we have with Mayo. Last week, CFO Mike Stephens, Chief Strategy Officer Mike Riley, and I traveled to Rochester, Minnesota to share best practices, marvel at the progress Mayo healthcare scientists have made with personalized genomics and regenerative medicine, and map projects for the upcoming year which will have the maximum impact for the patients we serve. Dr. David Hayes, Medical Director, Affiliated Practice Network and a cardiac electrophysiologist, shared several best practices, two of which have particular relevance for NCH.

  • Electronic consultation (eConsult) allows an NCH physician to obtain a clinical consultation from a Mayo expert at one of its three campuses. This is accomplished about 81% of the time without the patient needing to travel. And this resource has been further enhanced by AskMayoExpert, a proprietary knowledge base, through which referring physicians seek an online answer appropriate for the patient. Using AskMayoExpert decreases the need for a formal eConsult by 75%.

  • Another Mayo affiliate, which is also a Cerner information technology user, set up an eConsult automation system to seamlessly and almost simultaneously gather up all the clinical information into one organized PDF that is securely shared with a Mayo physician expert for an opinion. Turnaround for completion of the consultation is generally within two or three days.

Other smart ideas we learned about at Mayo included developing a quick and accurate rating system for the value of the consultation, a monthly executive report highlighting current activities, and a steering committee to prioritize health care consultations.

We also heard from Dr. John Noseworthy, CEO of the Mayo System, a neurologist and acknowledged expert in Multiple Sclerosis. Dr. Noseworthy highlighted Mayo’s successful approach to our nation’s rapidly-changing healthcare environment, as we reach an inflection point in terms of quality, cost, transparency, and other stresses and have collected some 150 million medical records, in the process of being gleaned for best practices data ( We heard an amazing presentation in regenerative medicine by Dr. Andre Terzic; it was reminiscent of science fiction. ( And we learned about individualized medicine—aka personalized genomics—outlined by Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, who shared a heartwarming story of a young father overwhelmed with cancer and saved when his tumor’s genes were defined and found to be amenable to a newer chemotherapeutic medication (

We live in an age of such rapid advances. Learning from Mayo’s 150-year record of success is the fastest and most efficient way a system like ours can maximize progress, as we pursue our goal of delivering the highest quality of care to the residents of southwest Florida, so we all can live longer, happier, and healthier lives.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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