Venetia van Kuffeler meets Medical Director of the new Mayo Clinic Healthcare in partnership with Oxford University Clinic on Portland Place, Dr Stephen Cassivi
Construction is under way to transform 15 Portland Place into a new premium health clinic – the first launch from a new joint venture between two of the world’s leading names in healthcare and medical research. Mayo Clinic Healthcare in partnership with Oxford University Clinic sees US hospital group Mayo Clinic and Oxford University Clinic, itself a joint venture between University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, join forces to open a new healthcare facility in the Harley Street Medical Area, marking Mayo Clinic’s first UK venture.
The clinic, due to launch in July 2019, will offer preventative medicine, screening and diagnostic services, including personalised health plans tailored to both individual and corporate clients. The new clinic will also be able to draw on the world-class expertise of the two parent organisations – offering access to an unrivalled network of global health experts.
WHY ARE OXFORD UNIVERSITY AND MAYO CLINIC GOOD PARTNERS?
These two esteemed brands came together at an opportune moment, when both sides were looking for opportunities to expand on the people they can reach and the care that they could extend. The way they came together was the result of both purpose and opportunity. The ultimate result is a useful Venn diagram where clearly there’s some overlap, but each brings some special characteristics that expand on each other’s skill set. Mayo Clinic is known for its excellence in healthcare from a scientific standpoint, but also in the service delivery and coordination of that care. The Oxford part of the Venn diagram brings a level of scholarship that is unparalleled. We recognise there are huge strengths in both camps but bringing them together provides a singular opportunity for us to do something unique and special in the healthcare arena.
FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT BE THAT FAMILIAR WITH THE MAYO CLINIC, CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THIS NORTH AMERICAN ORGANISATION AND ITS WORK?
Mayo Clinic’s story began back here in Salford, just outside Manchester, over 150 years ago. William Worall Mayo began his medical education under John Dalton, a famous scientist at the time. He went to the US, ending up in Rochester, Minnesota, as a local politician, physician and community leader. After a terrible tornado that came through the area, the sisters of St Francis, the local convent, made a proposal to Father Mayo: if they build him a hospital, would he and his sons (also physicians) be the doctors who run it. And that’s how it all begun. Along with their family values, they also brought equal partners to the venture. Until then, people were generally sole practitioners in medicine. So, this was quite a change. This integrated model of partnership and care has been perpetuated and refined over the decades, creating the Mayo Clinic. The modern Mayo Clinic is modelled on those values with an effort to expand on our medical knowledge. Being able to partner with, not only the medical part of Oxford, but with Oxford University, expands on the opportunity for interaction. We can now work with Oxford ethicists and engineers, as well as Oxford physicians, and really operate on multiple levels.
THIS IS MAYO CLINIC’S FIRST UK VENTURE. WHY NOW?
Why not now? The partnership itself answers the why now. It makes great sense. We also have a mandate to bring that partnership to a greater number of people beyond the US border. And this partnership allows us to do that with confidence.
WHAT WILL THIS PARTNERSHIP OFFER THE PRIVATE HEALTHCARE MARKET IN THE UK THAT HASN’T BEEN OFFERED BEFORE?
It’s obviously a busy sector. But we can offer four main things:
1. Proactive healthcare. Over the past four to five decades, we’ve provided an evidence-based, scientifically driven way of working with people to proactively manage their healthcare. It is that privileged and individual relationship with the patient that allows us to dig into what’s important to them for their health, and base it on hard science and protocols that have been refined over the years in our personalised healthcare programmes.
2. A completely unique partnership between Mayo Clinic and Oxford University Clinic.
3. Getting the right answers, the first time. Mayo’s approach of strictly adhering to scientific knowledge and coupling it with experts in the field, allows us to get to the right answers the first time.
4. Particularly pertinent to London and the UK, we will provide a real elevation in the coordination of care. This unique partnership allows seamless access to the world’s experts in whatever medical area that is of concern to you. Patients can access a whole spectrum of healthcare from world renowned specialists all under one roof. That offering of coordinated care is going to be unique and very useful.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE 15 PORTLAND PLACE? WOULD IT HAVE BEEN EASIER TO BUILD FROM THE GROUND UP?
In the area where we wanted to be – the heart of The Howard de Walden Estate and what people now recognise as medical London, building from the ground up isn’t so easy. We were fortunate to come across this building. Externally, it has the appearance of understated grandeur that you’d expect from these iconic brands, and internally it has been retrofitted to serve the purposes of medical care. The foundations have been strengthened in order to permit us to place heavy machinery inside – there will be MRI and CT machines, plus an endoscopy suite, and examination rooms that are derived from many years of refinement. Mayo Clinic has a deliberately planned thought-out structure, which you’ll also see at 15 Portland Place.
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN PLANS AND PRIORITIES AS MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF THE NEW CLINIC?
My other life is working as a thoracic (chest) surgeon back in Minnesota. But Mayo Clinic expects its physicians to expand beyond their area of specialisation.
Accordingly, my career has moved into overseeing the creation of this venture. My role is to make sure that this is a success and prove the principle that Mayo Clinic is relevant beyond the United States’ borders in direct patient care.
I’ve told my team this: if the people involved in this Clinic find joy in what they’re doing and the people in the parent institution are proud of what we do, then it will be success.
WHAT CAN OXFORD UNIVERSITY LEARN FROM MAYO CLINIC AND VICE-VERSA?
Again, I’ll refer to the Venn diagrams of healthcare delivery (that I mentioned before) and scholarship. I must reiterate, it’s not that one institution lacks one or the other, but there are opportunities to learn from each other in those two areas, as well as take advantage of the expertise that we have in research and education at both institutions, so 15 Portland Place becomes the first concrete iteration of the partnership. Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit foundation, so the proceeds of this venture will funnel back into research, education and patient care.
WHO WILL YOUR PATIENTS BE?
Our targeted audience includes two areas:
1. Individuals seeking to be proactive and wanting to enter into a relationship with expert physicians to help them manage their healthcare.
2. Businesses and organisations that recognise the importance of the health of their workforce. The health of a business’s executives is a very important investment. To replace them is very expensive.
WHAT CAN YOUR PARTNERSHIP/CONNECTIONS WITH THE HARLEY STREET MEDICAL AREA AND THE HOWARD DE WALDEN ESTATE PROVIDE THIS VENTURE?
Our strategy is to be where people would expect us to be, and also have exposure to and be within a community of other professionals and healthcare providers so we can interact. We can share patients and clients, depending on the situation. This is an opportunity to work with others, rather than be a competitor. Historically and today, the Harley Street Medical Area is the medical centre of London. And London is a global hub and centre of excellence.
CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE CLINIC’S INTERNATIONAL OUTLOOK?
We have a history of working with embassies and diplomats. I’m not revealing any secrets there! Of course, with the history that’s known, there’s the history that’s not known, and speaks to the discretion that we have. We’ve built the facility to allow for the discretion of people who want to seek out healthcare, but without anyone knowing.
We have worked with many governments around the world to provide high-level discrete and expert medical care. Sometimes even travelling to them.
It really is a partnership, involving people from both operations. Two years down the line, I would like to think that observers will not be able to tell – other than the accent – whether our doctors and staff came from the US or were homegrown here. It’s going to be really fascinating to watch that progression.
THE NEW MAYO CLINIC HEALTHCARE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH OXFORD UNIVERSITY CLINIC WILL OPEN IN JULY.