Mar 15 2022
Data Analytics

HIMSS22: Mayo Clinic Is ‘Committed’ to Leading Healthcare Transformation

Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. Gianrico Farrugia kicks off the major healthcare technology conference with a visionary keynote on the evolving industry.

Digital transformation in healthcare is more than simply moving from paper-based processes to an electronic medical records system. With new use cases for artificial intelligence and machine learning, and a steady paradigm shift toward a more holistic approach to health, the nature of transformation in healthcare is entering a new phase.

This year’s HIMSS conference theme asks attendees, speakers and vendors to “reimagine health.” Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic, did just that in the opening day visionary keynote for the HIMSS Digital sessions.

Dr. Gianrico Farrugia

Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic, delivers his visionary keynote address to the HIMSS Digital audience.

Farrugia is no stranger to innovation. Before he was elected as the new president and CEO in 2018, he led Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus to recognition through investments in patient care, medical training and complex disease treatment. He also co-founded the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation.

“Mayo Clinic is committed to leading the transformation of healthcare, starting with transforming ourselves,” he said during his keynote address. “Together, we have started to bring this bold vision to life. Transformation is happening, with much more impact to come.”

Farrugia also mentioned how partnerships and security have propelled Mayo Clinic’s leadership in the industry.

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Building a Strong Foundation for Digital Transformation in Healthcare

“Together with its partners, Mayo Clinic is leading the transformation of healthcare from a traditional pipeline model to a platform model that uses multimodal data, AI algorithms and a specific healthcare privacy-protecting architecture built to discover, validate and deliver new cures and better care to more people,” Farrugia said.  

Mayo Clinic and Google announced in 2019 a 10-year strategic partnership, relying on Google Cloud for the organization’s digital transformation as it sought to make advancements in care. Then, with the launch of the data-driven Mayo Clinic Platform initiative, key partnerships and business ventures with nference, Lucem Health and Anumana followed.

“All of us recognize that healthcare is deeply personal and evokes strong emotions, but as a field, it is also strictly regulated, scientifically rigorous and conservative,” Farrugia said. “Therefore, any innovation requires significant data and testing to be accepted. It's a unique combination of emotions and science that make it a sector that is hard to change, yet we must change.”

Understanding “the emotions and the science,” as Farrugia put it, is key to healthcare’s transformation. “I strongly believe that includes moving healthcare from a pipeline to platform model to make it more responsive, accessible and innovative for our patients.”

MORE FROM HIMSS22: Dr. Nirav Shah discusses continuous remote patient monitoring.

Patient Care at the Center of Healthcare

Farrugia also highlighted the importance of patient privacy, security and comfort.

“Having access to healthcare data is a privilege and a huge responsibility. As healthcare providers, we have a responsibility to push hard to give the best possible care, but also respect our patients’ trust and privacy,” he said. “Even as we pursue innovative care, we have also sought broad input and pushed to develop standards for safeguarding our patients’ sensitive data and information, even beyond HIPAA and safe harbors.”

Farrugia highlighted the federated learning approach in AI algorithm development and the commitment to de-identify valuable patient data. “We and our partners also must constantly adapt our privacy efforts as the field evolves. There clearly is no finish line,” he added.  

But the focus on digital transformations doesn’t mean neglect in the physical space of care, Farrugia said. Physical hospitals and clinics must keep up with the pace of digital change.

“These physical spaces must also transform to function across the spectrum of care from digital to in-person and back to digital again,” Farrugia said. Mayo’s “Bold. Forward.” plan for next-generation physical healthcare spaces aims to achieve more flexible, technological, integrated, warmer, welcoming and comforting sites for patients to receive care.

Mayo Clinic's “Bold. Forward." Plan

Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. Gianrico Farrugia shares this image as he discusses his organization’s vision for next-generation physical healthcare spaces.

“Even before the pandemic, but especially during the pandemic, our physical infrastructure across the country has failed to change to meet 21st century healthcare challenges,” he added. “This physical transformation I believe has been severely neglected, and it's going to need significant national attention and investment over the next few years.”

Keep this page bookmarked for our ongoing virtual coverage of HIMSS22. Follow us on Twitter @HealthTechMag and join the conversation using the hashtag #HIMSS22.

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