Patient-Provider Service for Mayo Clinic

Better service at a renowned healthcare institution

Mayo Clinic has developed a worldwide reputation for practicing cooperative, patient-focused medical care for people with some of the most severe forms of illness. At Mayo’s three primary outpatient facilities in the United States, physicians and health-care practitioners combine their skills and experience in team fashion to help solve medical problems in a way that puts the patient first.

To enhance the way in which the institution provides services, Mayo invited IDEO to help turn an internal medicine wing into a laboratory for improving the patient-provider experience. The new venture is known as the SPARC Innovation Program, an acronym that stands for See, Plan, Act, Refine, and Communicate.

IDEO began by observing how patients interacted in waiting areas and exam rooms, and how they worked with doctors, nurses, and staff to navigate the healthcare process. IDEO provided the Mayo team with a basic template for creating service delivery innovation—a systematic process that includes how to brainstorm new ideas for using the space, rapidly prototype novel service delivery designs, and use customer observation and direct feedback to refine solutions.

To put the process into action, the team devised a simple and flexible design for the internal medicine corridor that allows for more informative, comfortable, and guided interactions among staff and patients.

The team turned the wing into a four-zone journey through which patients proceed: the Service Home Base; the Visitor-Facing Hub; the Preparation Service Area; and Innovation Central. The wing is now a permanent section of the clinic where staff and doctors can develop and prototype new processes for improving service delivery.

Project date: 2004

Facts & Figures

Sick patients dread the long check-in lines of most clinics, and have begun using self-service computer kiosks in many Mayo locations.

A prototyping lab inspired SPARC’s spirit of experimentation, agility, and collaboration.

The Mayo Clinic's SPARC lab is driving experimentation at the frontier of health care. How? By getting physicians to think more like designers. [Read more at]

Learn more about the SPARC program