Posts (3)

Mar 3, 2014 · A Milestone for the Future of Health Care in Arizona

Proton Beam Installation Ceremony at Mayo Clinic in ArizonaIt’s a milestone that’s been two years in the making.

After breaking ground on our upcoming Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in December of 2011, we are getting ready to welcome the arrival of the first wave of proton beam equipment, due to be installed starting in early March.

To commemorate this great occasion, we held a special event at our Phoenix campus where many of our radiation oncology staff, benefactors and a large contingent from Hitachi (the manufacturers of the proton beam therapy equipment) converged for a special celebration.

You can say the Far East met the Southwest as I, along with members of Mayo’s Cancer Center, Hitachi leadership and legislators Rep. Heather Carter and Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring, donned blue ceremonial kimonos and wielded hammers, as part of a Japanese ceremony called “Kagami Wari.” The ceremony, where we broke a cask of sake to a resounding cheer of Kampai (which means cheers), was meant to bless the new equipment and facility with good wishes of health and prosperity.Proton Beam Rendering

Mayo’s proton beam therapy facility, which will occupy the lower level of the new Cancer Center, will be the first of its kind in Arizona and the Southwest. Patients will soon benefit from the technology’s precision, where protons will destroy tumors, while sparing healthy, surrounding tissues and organs.

The Cancer Center is expected to open in phases beginning next year, followed by the debut of the proton beam therapy program in 2016.

Be sure to follow my future posts for updates on the building’s progress.

Editor’s note: Wyatt W. Decker, M.D., is a vice-president of Mayo Clinic.

Jan 10, 2014 · The Spirit of Innovation and the Future of Health Care

Wyatt W. Decker, M.D.A new year is a time of hope and promise.

As 2014 begins to unfold, I’d like to devote this post to the spirit of innovation as it relates to the future of health care.

I was recently part of an Arizona Chamber of Commerce discussion with Dr. Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University and Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, where we reflected on creative advancements in health care taking place here in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

At the panel, I shared highlights of Mayo Clinic’s efforts to transform health care in the coming year and the decades beyond. These efforts include harnessing technologies in new ways to touch more lives and improve care for patients in our community and from across the nation and around the globe.

TeleconcussionThese efforts include our growing telemedicine program. Mayo’s telestroke program (where Mayo neurologists assess patients remotely via a robot) began as a research pilot in Arizona with the goal of collaborating with health care providers in rural locales that didn’t have stroke specialists on staff.  That initial pilot has now grown into a national program with specialized consults taking place as far as New Hampshire and Missouri. We are also sharing our medical expertise in the form of eConsults to patients, reducing the need for additional appointments or travel.

Mayo physicians are also utilizing technology in new ways to make themselves more accessible to helping patients. For example, our physicians are working with portable technology that enables them to securely view patient images and reports remotely and collaborate with other practitioners to provide a medical diagnosis from any location.

Telemedicine and SmartphoneSometimes technology is blamed for rising health care costs: but using the right technology in the right way can lower costs, and provide higher quality care in the process.

Have an idea or question to share? Please feel free to post one here. I welcome your feedback and questions and look forward to sharing more Mayo Clinic news and interacting with you in future posts.

Editor’s noteWyatt W, Decker, M.D., is a vice-president of Mayo Clinic.

Nov 5, 2013 · Glimpse into the Future of Health Care

Dr. Decker portrait“Today, the only thing that is permanent is change.” — Dr. Charles Mayo

Although circumstances have changed, that quote, spoken more than eighty years ago, couldn’t be more relevant today.

Our country is in the midst of challenging political and socioeconomic times — we are entering an era that will leave an indelible imprint on health care in the United States.

As the Affordable Health Care Act goes into effect in 2014, Mayo Clinic continues to seek ways to transform our medical practice so that we can lead the nation in providing the best health care to our patients at an affordable cost. We are leveraging technology to expand accessibility to high quality and safe health care with the best outcomes for our patients.

I’m often asked how the Affordable Care act will impact Mayo Clinic. Recently I discussed this topic at the Arizona State University (ASU) Town Hall on the Future of Health Care Delivery with Michael Crow, President of ASU, moderated by former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Carmona.

There isn’t a simple answer to what lies ahead. To help guide our actions as we move forward, John Noseworthy, M.D., CEO at Mayo Clinic and our team are focused on three imperatives: 1) to deliver knowledge; 2) to create value and 3) to fund excellence. We are concerned about the impact of reduced reimbursement for medical care on nonprofit institutions like ourselves that are centers of excellence. Mayo has developed many key strategic priorities to help our nation meet our health care needs of improving access to high quality health care at a reduced cost.

In future posts, you’ll be hearing more about a number of these priorities — priorities that include the unique way in which our Medical School plans to redefine medical education in conjunction with ASU for the next generation of physicians. You’ll hear updates on the construction of our transformative Cancer Center currently underway at our Phoenix Campus. You’ll learn about how we are using telemedicine to improve access to quality health care at a lower cost across the nation. We’ll also being sharing  news on Mayo’s collaborative partnerships with ASU and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Have an idea or question to share? I welcome your feedback and look forward to sharing more Mayo Clinic news and interacting with you in future posts.

Editor’s note: Wyatt W. Decker, M.D., is a vice-president of Mayo Clinic.

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