My new role as president of the Mayo Clinic Platform began officially on January 1. I was selected for the role in late November and volunteered time in December to better understand the technology, people and processes of Mayo Clinic. What will I do in my first weeks at Mayo?
Listen to my colleagues, customers, and staff.
I learned a valuable lesson in 1998 when I first became a CIO. I was seeing patients on a 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. ED shift when my Motorola flip phone rang at midnight. The conversation went something like this.
Caller: “Hi, this is Jim.”
Me: “Jim who?”
Caller: “Jim, the CEO of hospitals.”
Me: “Of course, how can I help?”
Caller: “I’ve selected you as the next CIO and you start at 8 a.m. tomorrow. We’ll figure the rest out later.”
At 8 a.m., I met with three advisors/mentors who agreed to guide me on my CIO journey: Professor F. Warren McFarlan of Harvard Business School, John F. Keane the CEO of Keane Inc, and Samuel Fleming of Decision Resources Inc.
I explained to them that I’d thought about the IT path forward (for 1998) overnight and we should immediately devote 100 percent of IT resources to embracing the web for all applications and operations. They looked at me and advised that if I simply told colleagues, customers and staff what I thought they needed, I would have failed change management 101. Instead, I needed to follow the wisdom of John Kotter and build a guiding coalition empowered by a sense of urgency to change.
For the next few weeks, I held listening sessions — over 300 of them. My mentors were right. Listening, communicating, and serving the organization based on convening/informal authority was much more potent than using formal authority to command and control.
At Mayo Clinic, I had more than 50 meetings before I started. I met with key Mayo partners in industry. I’ve had days that started at 6 a.m. and ended at 10 p.m. And I’ve just scratched the surface in my understanding of possible futures.
In my upcoming meetings, I will try to answer 5 questions:
- What unique assets (intellectual property, technology, people, etc.) does Mayo Clinic have?
- If the Mayo Clinic Platform were to offer service lines of capabilities, what should they be and who are the intended users?
- What economic models are most appropriate to ensure these service lines are sustainable – subscription, licensing, equity growth?
- What are the barriers and enablers to creating these service lines?
- Are there existing projects that should be halted or de-prioritized?
It’s becoming clear to me in my conversations thus far that Mayo Clinic has an extraordinary foundation upon which the Mayo Clinic Platform can be built. It includes the following:
- 30 Petabytes of clinical data
- A large collection of genomes, biological samples and pathology slides
- Numerous state of the art machine learning algorithms
- Faculty expertise
- Access to capital
- A strategic partnership with Google
- Co-development relationships with startups
- A network of affiliates that provide diverse data sources and can serve as pilot sites
- Research in collaboration with established tech companies
- A very strong business development/licensing group
- The reputation of Mayo Clinic
- Connections to innovators worldwide (Mayo opens many doors)
After the next several weeks of listening, we’ll widely communicate a small number of initial service lines that build on this foundation and projects already in progress. Remarkable pre-work has been done by Dr. Clark Otley, chief medical officer, who is my partner and who served as interim president of Mayo Clinic Platform, as well as our Business Development colleagues, James Rogers, Emily Wampfler, Maneesh Goyal, Andrew Danielsen, and Eric Harnisch. At the recent JP Morgan conference, we were able to announce some of our first partnerships and strategies.
The next year will be a great journey, collaboratively defining the mission, vision, and values of the Platform effort, and ensuring our products and services are well aligned with the goals of Mayo Clinic and the needs of many internal/external stakeholders, all while keeping patients first.