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The Mayo Clinic has been a terrific contributor to the TMIT Greenlight Program and our documentaries. Their innovation in leadership and enormously empowering culture has provided a roadmap to leaders of hospitals through the stories of their staff and expressions of their leaders.

Click here to view the full 53-minute Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm documentary.
Click here to go back to the TMIT Patient Safety Documentaries site.

The Mayo Clinic Has a Great Culture

Dennis Quaid, actor and patient safety advocate, and Dr. Charles Denham, with TMIT, comment that the leadership and dedication of the entire team to patient care is evidenced by the appreciation of CEO Dr. John Noseworthy for everyone's contribution to putting the interests of the patients first.

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota – Reducing Central Line Infections with the NQF Safe Practices

Dr. Daniel Brown praised the NQF Safe Practice for Better Healthcare on reducing central line infections for being current with the most recent data, specifically the use of Chlorhexadine to clean the area of central line insertion. His support for standards shows the value of leadership in reducing infections and improving care.

Mayo Clinic in Florida

CEO Dr. Bill Rupp gave a great example of going to other industries for performance improvement. Mayo brought in the pit crew chief from a NASCAR racing team to look at turnover and efficiency in their OR. They learned a great deal from the chief's insights.

This was only one example of many in which empowering the staff to come up with ideas and implementing them can have a tremendous positive impact on the organization. For example, the nursing teams meet daily around improvement initiatives that they introduce. The teams try out the initiatives and track their progress. If they work, they are adopted. If not, they are discarded the teams and move on. This rapid-cycle improvement using solutions from the staff is key to the success of Mayo.

Mayo Clinic in Florida made a bold decision to be transparent with their data and to display progress on many categories in the hospital hallways for patients and staff alike to see. At first, there was some resistance, but when the scores began to improve, everyone saw improved care and satisfaction for the patients were the results.


Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota

After three amazing days of shooting, it was clear that everyone at Mayo lives the mission – The Needs of the Patient Come First. From the CEO, to medical leaders and even environmental services cleaning the rooms, the patient experience was at the forefront of the hospital experience.

We were touched to see the teamwork in the OR with Dr. Thompson’s team as they huddled to discuss a procedure with a two-year old girl.

"Scrub the Hub" was a great example of an innovative technique that could be used anywhere to reduce Central Line Bloodstream Infections. By simply scrubbing the entry point of central lines with an alcohol swab for 15 seconds, as opposed to a quick swipe, Mayo has been able to reduce central line infections dramatically.

The Simulation Center showed the power of technology and simulation training as well, but also provided a lesson for all institutions. A major value in simulation comes from sharing the experience with a team before it happens in the real world and discussing it afterward.

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota – A New National Standard in Surgical Care

Dr. Robert Cima, Head of Quality for Surgical Services at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, shared his insights on the latest evidence-based practice to reduce surgical-site infections. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that using Chlorhexadine with alcohol prep in type 2 wounds reduces infections by 40 percent.

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota – Innovation, Iris, and the Mayo Mission

When we came to Rochester, we didn’t plan to shoot a segment on the environmental services, but then we found out that they were really great innovators. When they found out there were high bacterial counts on the contact surfaces in the rooms, they developed a checklist without being asked to, and are now cleaning the rooms more effectively than before. We met Iris Cowger, who clearly articulated the Mayo mission of "The Needs of the Patient Come First," and put it in the context of her job: making a clean environment for the patients. This was a great blessing to Dr. John Noseworthy, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, when he heard that even the cleaning staff could espouse the mission.

Iris Cowger

Iris Cowger, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota – Learning from Other Industries: Clean Rooms and Clean Food Have a Lot In Common

Another surprise came out of this story that keeps giving during a collaboration with Dr. Cima, who gave us further insight into the environmental services at Mayo. Andy Kolengoode, another Mayo employee, who used to work in the food industry, recommended taking bacterial counts in patient rooms the same way staff would measure bacteria in food processing plants. By taking bacterial cultures of the surfaces in patient rooms with an overnight test, they discovered that colony counts were higher on the remote control than they were on the toilet. This led to a change in the way the rooms were cleaned, and, as Iris remarked, “If we clean differently and better, we can save lives.”

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota – Could This Happen at Mayo?

One of the unanticipated video shoots was at the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center. Dr. Swensen recanted to us that, when he first saw the news story of Dennis Quaid‘s twins’ medication accident, he was on an elliptical trainer. Even though he was hot and sweaty from his workout, he felt a cold chill run down his spine. As Dr. Swensen told us, "I asked myself, ‘Could this happen at Mayo?’ and the answer was yes.” This wake-up call for Dr. Swensen led to several initiatives at Mayo to ensure that a medication error of that type would not happen.

Dr. Steve Swensen

Dr. Steve Swensen, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota – Share Rounds

A big surprise to us was the innovation created by the nurses at Mayo, called "Share Rounds," in which nurses do their shift change and report hand-offs in front of their patients. Not only did it increase patient safety and satisfaction, it also improves nursing satisfaction ... and it saves time and money.


Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota – A Guide Through the Tunnels

A special thank-you goes out to our gracious guide, Rebecca Finseth. It was amazing that not only did she keep us from getting lost in the myriad buildings and floors at Mayo, but she kept introducing us to great people. We felt welcomed and honored to be a part of the Mayo system. We even got a tour of the underground tunnels – a great way to travel with 200 pounds of video equipment.

Rebecca Finseth

Rebecca Finseth, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Mayo Clinic in Florida – It Wouldn‘t Be Florida Without NASCAR

Bob Brigham, Chief Administrative Officer for Mayo Clinic in Florida, gave us a great example of using other industries to improve performance. We were surprised and excited by the story of Mayo Clinic in Florida bringing a NASCAR pit crew chief into the OR to get tips on improving efficiency. Bob told us how the NASCAR suggestions helped dramatically turn around times and efficiency. His takeaway message: "Administrators need to look outside of their industries."

Bob Brigham

Bob Brigham, Mayo Clinic in Florida

Mayo Clinic in Florida – The Barrier Buster

When we were at Jacksonville, we learned the very appropriate nickname that the nurses gave Dr. Bill Rupp, CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. He‘s affectionately known as "The Barrier Buster." Of the 72 initiatives adopted in the recent improvement efforts at Mayo Clinic in Florida, 71 came from the front-line staff. As Dr. Rupp told us, "Ask your staff. They already have the answers."

Bill Rupp

Dr. Bill Rupp, CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida

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