Mayo’s High-Tech “Health Experience” Opens at MOA

Mayo's new store at the Mall of America gives mall-goers a chance to learn more about health and wellness-and it allows Mayo to gather input from visitors that will influence its plans for a permanent facility at the mall.

Mayo Clinic on Thursday opened a new location at the Mall of America, although it's not so much a clinic as it is a series of interactive exhibits.

The new space, located on the first floor of the megamall near the East Market Rotunda, allows visitors to “define your own wellness goals, access interactive information, and explore resources dedicated to your health,” Mayo wrote on its Web site.

The space, called The Create Your Mayo Clinic Health Experience, is part retail store, part high-tech display, and part limited-services clinic, providing offerings related to stress management, women's health, sleep assessments, and other minor services.

Visitors can use touch screen displays to check various symptoms and to access wellness evaluations, among other things. Trained “health experience navigators” will also be on hand to discuss health issues and assist visitors as they map out wellness plans.

The Create Your Mayo Clinic Health Experience venture also serves as a marketing tool, as visitors can learn about the services that Rochester-based Mayo provides at each of its campuses.

The store's opening comes about three months after Mayo announced that it would launch the location as a tool to solicit ideas from mall-goers as it plans to build a permanent facility as part of the second phase of the mall's expansion. Mayo hopes its permanent space will be completed in mid-2013.

A WCCO News report, which includes a video of the new facility, provides further details about the computer monitors, kiosks, and other exhibits, including an “augmented reality” tool that allows visitors to step in front of a camera, see themselves in a monitor, and witness the program displaying facts about how various organs operate inside the body.

A report by the Star Tribune points out that Mayo Clinic has been working its way closer to the Twin Cities market in the past few weeks. For example, the Mayo Clinic Health System recently acquired a New Prague hospital; it also opened a $10 million oncology treatment center in Northfield. But the Minneapolis newspaper reports that Mayo isn't looking to compete with large Twin Cities systems like Allina and Fairview, as it is focusing on health and wellness services rather than building a large hospital.

The Star Tribune also said that Mayo has retained Minneapolis-based Campbell Mithun-the state's largest advertising agency-to publicize its new venture at the Mall of America.

Mayo Clinic announced in 2009 its intent to build a facility as part of the Mall of America's expansion. The clinic treats more than half a million people each year and operates two of Minnesota's largest hospitals based on number of available beds. It has sites in Rochester; Jacksonville, Florida; and Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona.

In other news, Mayo was recently named among the nation's best hospitals, ranking third on U.S. News and World Report's annual “honor roll” list.