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HAIL Lab an Incubator for Aging Innovations

Mayo Initiative is Worth a Look


HAIL Lab an Incubator for Aging Innovations
@Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation created the Healthy Aging and Independent Living (HAIL) Lab to support aging in place, helping seniors remain at home, healthy and independent.

HAIL is housed in Charter House, a continuing care retirement community in Rochester, Minn., with over 400 residents and is physically connected to Mayo Clinic.

The HAIL Lab is a place for focus groups, as well as for designing, prototyping and piloting new services and technologies with voluntary participation from residents of Charter House, Mayo patients and other community agencies.

There are two mock-up apartments for in-lab experiments simulating a typical home experience. Each apartment has a bedroom, kitchen, den and bathroom. The lab also includes a room for focus groups and observations, an assistive technology lending library, a design studio and rooms for other experiments.

"The goal of the HAIL Lab is to apply the scientific method in a patient-centered fashion, helping seniors live longer, more independent lives," according to Nicholas LaRusso, M.D., medical director, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation.

Pioneering Mayo Clinic-style health care innovations, the Center for Innovation is staffed with design professionals, as well as project managers and specialists from a wide variety of disciplines. Their goal is to help innovative thinkers throughout the institution bring their ideas to life and team with colleagues to keep the institution moving forward — testing new concepts and bringing them quickly into the practice.

Team members are recruited with expertise in health care, information technology, communication, human factors engineering, education and other disciplines as needed. The HAIL team is currently focusing on the following areas:

  • The Living Environment:
    Designing tools and environments that promote health and safety, while sustaining independence and improving quality-of-life.

  • Transitions:
    Investigating the planning and support necessary to prepare for and navigate major life transitions — including social, physical and emotional.

  • Caregiver Support and Education:
    Finding targeted services and support that are better integrated into the care delivery system.

Experts from the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging, as well as physicians from disciplines throughout Mayo serve as consultants to the center.

HAIL uses design thinking as part of an innovation methodology and continuously refines these methods to meet the needs of the health care environment. They observe patients, interview families, and conduct traditional consumer research, visualize, model, prototype and test possible health care delivery solutions.

Mayo's decision to fuse design principles and the hypothesis-based scientific method is invaluable in helping uncover the various human needs involved in the health care environment.

The HAIL Lab is supported by a consortium of organizations that provide strategy, expertise and financial support. "We are hoping to collaborate with organizations that share a vision with Mayo to support this growing segment of our population — helping seniors remain at home, in a connected and safe manner," says Barbara Spurrier, administrative director, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation. "We intend to pilot new services, care models and technologies around such themes as connection and engagement, health and wellness, and home safety."

The Benefits for Consortium Members include:

  • Ability to leverage one another's internal capabilities, organizational competencies and assets to deliver new customer value.
  • Access to Mayo Clinic's experts in aging, service design, research and business development.
  • Ability to test and prototype new products and services through access to Mayo's patient and caregiver populations.
  • Access to research and organizational insights in the healthy aging and independent living space from our experts and projects.
  • Opportunity to have an "employee in residence.”
  • Consortium Week in which the corporate sponsors are invited to meet with our researchers and discuss findings and brainstorm solutions.
  • Customized "company day" at the CFI with strategic brainstorming sessions.

How does your company incubate and innovate?

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