Jack and Jill Rooms

The team at the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation was invited to take a fresh look at how space supports the activities of Mayo's new practice redesign. They began by identifying clear objectives and goals for the examination space and researched how the actual patient experience aligned with those goals. One of those goals was to make the patient-physician interaction more of a collaborative experience.

This particular initiative began in 2005 as 30 days of prototyping numerous and varied ideas to improve the patient experience and complement Mayo's new practice redesign.

Four physicians during a period of a month agreed to see their patients in those model rooms with interchanging design features. By integrating the practical experience with the design process, the center's team was able to eliminate unnecessary elements and add desired ones to continually improve the overall experience.


Informed by those interactions, it quickly became apparent that of the 60-minute patient appointments, 85 to 90 percent is conversation and only 10 to 15 percent is physical examination. The outcome was the concept of the Consult Room.


The rooms also incorporate generally accepted energy-saving practices such as solar-powered faucets and sensors that turn lights on only when people are in the room.

"Patients recognize and appreciate that their needs are being used to shape care delivery," notes Maggie A. Breslin, a Center for Innovation designer and researcher. "Physicians like having a place to talk with the patient that allows them to incorporate both family members and the computer screen as appropriate."


Physicians also found that the dedicated exam room layout allows for a consistent arrangement of the table and tools that makes the physical exam easier to conduct.


"Thanks to the Center for Innovation, we had the ability to make changes in our plans and test them quickly. It was satisfying to take an idea that seemed pretty unusual and discover through testing that providers, patients and their families all said, 'Oh, this makes sense,' " says William C. Mundell, M.D., of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.