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Putting Patient Needs First

by Deirdre Mylod, PhD, Executive Director, Institute for Innovation | Apr 23, 2014
The Institute for Innovation has been hard at work over the last several months. These are exciting times with tremendous engagement and enthusiasm for how we can better understand what patients need.

In November, the Founding Executive Council convened in person and spent three hours in a working session. Together, the Council worked to define vision statements for each of the four prioritized research projects, and discussed the concepts around reducing patient suffering and better addressing patients’ needs. That conversation continues to dynamically evolve over our quarterly meetings.

Subject Matter Expert work groups have been formed for each of the projects and regular meetings are underway. Initially, the groups brainstormed many possible research questions to address under each topic and then engaged in a formal consensus process to prioritize the specific areas of focus. These groups are now reviewing and reacting to the findings resulting from the first phases of our analytic work.  

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Mayo Clinic to learn more about their innovations in healthcare delivery and their efforts to create optimally-functioning teams. The strength of their culture was readily apparent as we met with key researchers and leaders throughout the organization. I was struck by the fact that literally every single person I met with spontaneously invoked the Mayo core value that “the needs of the patient come first.”

Efforts to reduce patient suffering require that we first seek to understand patients’ needs and keep those needs top of mind. Imagine my delight to see an exhibit of the historic Mayo headline, “Dr. Mayo Dedicates New Clinic to Relief of Human Suffering in Cornerstone Ceremony”. 

During the dedication of this building, Charles H. Mayo, M.D., said: “Intelligence with knowledge enables wisdom to extend the highest service. Such service has made necessary this building, which we now dedicate to the relief of suffering humanity through diagnosis, treatment, and cure of disease, and the healing of wounds.” A compelling reminder that reducing suffering has always been at the forefront of great care.

I’m looking forward to attending the Cleveland Clinic’s fifth annual Empathy in Innovation Summit next month. I’ve participated in this event each year since its inception and always come away inspired by the merging of strategy, tactics and shared purpose.  Their work to promote empathy is a necessary piece of the puzzle to acknowledge and take action to reduce patient suffering. I hope to see you there.

Image courtesy of Mayo Clinic and Rochester (Minn.) Post Bulletin