Business & Economy

Mayo Clinic unveils plans for a new $5 billion campus in downtown Rochester

Leaders hope health 'neighborhoods’ will streamline care for patients, staff

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A rendering of Mayo Clinic's newest campus plan in downtown Rochester, Minn.
Courtesy of Mayo Clinic

A $5 billion plan to redesign Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus will attempt to upend the traditional health care model where patients ping-pong between buildings and appointments and replace it with health care neighborhoods that bring services to patients based on their clinical needs.

In a plan unveiled Tuesday, Mayo leaders said they envision these “health neighborhoods” as places where patients can access continuous care. Many patients come to Mayo and stay for extended periods seeking treatment for complicated issues. Emerging technology, including artificial intelligence and automation, will streamline and enhance the patient experience. 

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Mayo Clinic's newest campus plan in downtown Rochester includes "neighborhoods" designed so patients can access continuous care.
Courtesy of Mayo Clinic

Mayo is titling the initiative “Bold. Forward. Unbound.”

“Health care is often felt by patients as being fragmented and episodic,” said Dr. Craig Daniels who is leading the effort.

“We have outpatient care models and inpatient care models and we move patients back and forth. But we’re really working in a 20th century model of health care with patients who have 21st century health care needs.” 

In these neighborhoods, patients will have access to labs, imaging, consultations and clinics, designed to be flexible. That’s different from the traditional hospital model where some floors are dedicated to surgery, while others are designed for hospital beds. 

The facility will focus on complex care — treating patients who have multiple health problems at once. Daniels used the example of a relapse cancer patient who is also pregnant.

“They don’t want to experience those things over two weeks of traveling between multiple buildings and waiting for multiple appointments, they need those things to be around them to solve their problems quickly and come to the right team decision making,” he said. 

Current plans, recently approved by Mayo’s board of trustees, will feature five new buildings for a total of 2.4 million square feet in a swath of town between the hospital’s oldest facility, St. Marys Hospital, and its newer buildings downtown. 

This stretch of land has been the subject of new zoning rules and new commercial development, as well as the site of a future bus rapid transit line — all elements of Rochester’s massive, 20-year Destination Medical Center economic development plan. 

The new facilities will connect directly to Mayo Clinic’s Gonda building on its downtown campus, where outpatient care is centered. 

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Mayo Clinic said its newest campus plan will give patients easier access to labs, imaging, consultations and clinics.
Courtesy of Mayo Clinic

The new model will also streamline staff work by relying on new technologies, including remote monitoring, artificial intelligence and automation that will ultimately allow practitioners to spend more time with the patient and speed discharge times, said Dr. Amy Williams, executive dean of practice. 

“Before that patient arrives, [Mayo will get their] information, all that data, having it at the fingertips of the care team to decide, what do they need, what is the most likely diagnosis here, and that will help that will be the start of their journey, even before they get here,” she said. 

The plan also includes a new logistics center on the site of an old school downtown, as well as 800 additional parking spots. 

With funding for the project approved by the board, Daniels said the next step is to work with the city to get construction permits and to work with surrounding neighborhoods to gather feedback on the proposal.

That process will start in early 2024, he said, with the goal of opening some facilities in 2028 and for the project to be completed in 2030.

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