When redesigning the new and expanded emergency room at the Mayo Clinic’s Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, Mayo leaders didn’t just want to add more rooms and square feet. They saw it as an opportunity to completely transform the operation to improve care and the patient experience and to lower costs. To that end, they decided to have a team study how care is delivered, identify the barriers to smooth operations, and fix the barriers. In other words, they created a living lab of the Clinic’s largest emergency department.
The successful experience illustrates the role that relatively simple technology (e.g., an RFID system) and a multidiscipline team of clinicians and people from other fields can play in improving the quality and cost of care delivery processes and the steps that can ease the way to applying such an approach. The project was launched in 2013, and the RFID system was rolled out in stages starting in the summer of 2015. It was fully integrated into emergency room operations at St. Marys during the fourth quarter of 2015.