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Transform Symposium, Sept. 8-10, 2013

Last Updated: September 11, 2013.

Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation's TRANSFORM 2013

The Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation's annual Transform Symposium was held from Sept. 8 to 10, 2013, at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn. The symposium attracted more than 1,200 professionals, including physicians, nurses, academics, and innovators. The Transform Symposium began five years ago with the goal of reimagining health care and the recognition that innovation and transformation often come from a collective visioning and collective voice. Transform is a gathering of individuals committed to positive change in health care and health care delivery and is intended to nurture and facilitate an ongoing dialogue to bring impactful action to the current system.

At the helm of Transform 2013 are Douglas Wood, M.D., medical director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, and the two co-directors of this year's symposium: Nicholas LaRusso, M.D., medical director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Connected Care, and Barbara Spurrier, M.H.A., administrative director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation (CFI).

"Health care organizations operate in an environment of uncertainty which prevents or discourages innovation, particularly transformative and disruptive innovation that is essential to advancing a new and better model of health care delivery," LaRusso said in a statement for CFI. "Academic medical centers such as the Mayo Clinic have an obligation to partner with others inside and outside the health care industry to develop optimal models of health care centered around the needs of patients."

The Mayo Clinic CFI was founded in 2008 to experiment with adapting U.S. business innovation disciplines to focus on health care delivery improvement. Through CFI methodology, novel ideas for service and/or product redesign are explored and implemented if deemed viable. "We approach our work with a 'think big, start small, and move fast attitude,'" Spurrier said in a statement for CFI.

Transform 2013, moderated by journalist and commentator John Hockenberry, began with Science Sunday, an exploration of how bench science discoveries translate into health care and health transformation. An "Inspire" session followed, which included Michelle Marciniak, former basketball player at the University of Tennessee, and Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic, in a discussion of coach Pat Summitt's battle with Alzheimer's disease and the impact of Alzheimer's disease on the individual, the community, and the health care system. "Alzheimer's could be what brings down the health care system," said Petersen.

Also part of the Inspire session were Susan Mazer, Ph.D., and Dallas Smith, a husband-wife musician team, who demonstrated their approach to music as a healing instrument. "Music can comfort that universal part of all of us," Mazer said.

Several sessions followed on Monday, divided into the themes of Reframe, Collide, Insights, Elephants in the Room, and Scale. David Erickson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Community Development Investments at the Federal Bank of San Francisco, spoke in the "Reframe" session about reframing the problem. "Our health is the sum of our challenges and opportunities," he said, citing data on zip code correlation with health outcomes. Erickson urged focus on creating healthier communities and more accessible healthful options. Mary Brainerd, president and chief executive officer of HealthPartners, expanded on this theme with her view on the creation of healthier communities. "For one of us to succeed, we all need to succeed," she said.

Monday evening brought an announcement of the Target Simplicity Challenge. Target is seeking simple yet innovative ideas to improve health care delivery in two areas -- chronic care management and preventive health. The two winners will each receive $25,000 and the opportunity to work with Target on implementing the idea. Jose Barra, senior vice president of health and beauty for Target, made the announcement, with remarks by judges Amy Tenderich, the founder of DiabetesMine, and Nate Garvis, the founder of Naked Civics. "We don't have a health care system, we have a sick care system," said Garvis, who noted that the majority of our health care opportunities happen outside of the health care setting. This initiative is focused on "lifestyle offerings that partner with health care to produce better health in our nation," he added.

Kevin Ronnenberg, M.D., the associate medical director for Target, also spoke at the event. "We need to extend health care beyond the hospital and clinic," he said. "[To date], health care has been built around the rate-limiting step of the physician."

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Tuesday sessions included "Unraveling," featuring Nancy Snyderman, M.D., the chief medical editor of NBC News, who spoke of challenges created when physicians physically and emotionally distanced themselves from patients. "The patient became a vector of illness," said Snyderman. A "Rebuild" presentation featuring Andrew Zolli followed, with his focus on strengthening individuals and communities to weather through system disruption into transformation. There is a need for "fostering resilience from within," he said.

Tuesday also featured "Digging In" sessions for smaller group engagement, extended time, and activities which provided the opportunity to explore issues in greater depth. "Digging In" sessions included "How do we empower patients in their own care?" moderated by Snyderman; "How is education transforming health care?" moderated by William Drenttel, president of Winterhouse Institute and a senior faculty fellow at the Yale School of Management in New Haven, Conn.; "The patient is in, can you see me now?" moderated by Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., medical director of Patient Experience at the Mayo Clinic; and "How can comics help us understand health?" moderated by M.K. Czerwiec, R.N., M.A., artist in residence at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, who co-runs Graphic Medicine, a website that explores the interaction between the medium of comics and the discourse of health care.

Transform 2013 concluded with "Ignite" and "Reimagine" sessions and John Hockenberry bringing the event to a close in a wrap-up of the event.

Attendees and non-attendees are encouraged to remain engaged in the Transform community via the TransForum, a virtual community found on the Transform website home page.

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