Industry Watch

Innovation in Care

Mayo Clinic offers a transformative wellness program

Mayo Clinic has long been known for its commitment to delivering world-class medical care and research. It has also been at the forefront of health education to encourage informed lifestyle decisions. Recently, however, the organization took the bold step of bringing its 150-plus years of expertise directly to the public through its Mayo Clinic Healthy Living program. We sat down with Donald Hensrud, M.D., medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living program to learn more.

Industry Watch: Why is Mayo Clinic offering this program? What was the impetus for its creation?
Dr. Hensrud: We know that lifestyle plays a very important role in our health. And that goes for all of us, regardless of age or health condition. Nutrition, physical activity, weight loss, stress management, sleep — these are things we’re in control of that can help us not only live longer but live better. Talking with patients about lifestyle has always been an important part of health care. But making and sustaining healthy lifestyle behavior changes can be challenging. The Mayo Clinic Healthy Living program allows us to go beyond education and knowledge. We provide patients with evidence-based, immersive, personalized and experiential programs so that now, instead of going home with good intentions, they go home with a personalized action plan. The results can be life-changing.

IW: What are some of the program’s offerings?

Dr. Hensrud: We try to provide a variety of offerings — from 45-minute sessions to multi-day experiences — so that we can meet patients’ needs based on their interest, time, and budget.

One of our most popular programs is our Wellness Essentials Experience, a half-day program that includes personalized sessions with Mayo Clinic experts in nutrition, physical activity and resiliency. We define resiliency as our ability to manage and grow from life’s challenges, and this can be done through different methods including stress management, yoga, meditation, and even getting good sleep. These sessions are followed by a group session with a certified wellness coach who can help turn your health goals into a realistic action plan.

Another popular program is our Physical Activity Assessment, which includes a comprehensive and data- driven assessment of your physical conditioning followed by an expert consult on reaching your next-level physical activity goals.

We have some inspirational success stories from The Mayo Clinic Diet Experience, which is a year-long program that starts with two days onsite working with the experts behind the Mayo Clinic Diet to develop a personalized weight-loss plan. It includes 12 months of follow-up coaching support to help people stay on plan. Early data shows Mayo Clinic Diet Experience guests have lost an average of 9% of their body weight at one year.

Our most comprehensive offering is our Signature Experience, which includes four days working closely with our experts across nutrition, physical activity and resiliency, going home with a highly personalized healthy living plan and staying connected with us for six months through a personal wellness coach.

We can also personalize our program for patients with virtually any chronic health condition, such as chronic pain, diabetes, fibromyalgia and heart disease.

IW: Do the individuals come with a set idea of what offerings they want or do they meet with a health care profes- sional first and map out a plan?

Dr. Hensrud: We offer a free 20-minute personal wellness consultation for patients and visitors. This gives people the chance to meet with one of our healthy living experts and have a one-on-one conversation about the lifestyle topic of their choice. With that as a starting point, people are able to select the offering that best suits their individual needs.


IW: Are most of your participants past or current patients? Are they local or do they come for a period of time just to participate?
Dr. Hensrud: More than 3 million people a year travel to Rochester, Minnesota — most for Mayo Clinic. As a destination medical center, about half of our patients come to Mayo Clinic from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa and half come from everywhere else, including all 50 states and more than 130 countries. So we’ve designed our program for that entire population. Most of our guests are Mayo Clinic patients, some are family members and caregivers, many are business executives, and others are community members. Just about everyone could use a little help with eating healthier, being more active and managing stress, and we love help- ing people make that a priority.

IW: What is the cost range?
Dr. Hensrud: We’ll provide a 20-minute personalized wellness consultation for free. Our offerings start at $90 if you only have time for a one-on-one session with one of our lifestyle experts and increase for our more immersive multi- day programs that also include wellness coach follow-up and support. The vast majority of our participants have told us the value they received was well worth the cost and time to participate.

IW: What does Mayo Clinic hope to accomplish through this program?

Dr. Hensrud: Lifestyle is so important to our health and such a struggle for many of us. We’d love to pave the way for embedding lifestyle and behavior change into the medical care model.

It’s not only about diagnosis and treatment — many conditions can be prevented by engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors. And the best part of this is that people’s quality of life can improve and they can feel better.