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Mayo Clinic hosts Japanese health officials

Bill Priest (left), chief administrative officer of Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, leads a tour of the clinic Friday for Mizuno Tadayuki, Eiji Habu and Maki Kobayashi from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The delegates were in Minnesota to learn more about Mayo Clinic’s integrated care model. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)

CANNON FALLS — Delegates from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare were at Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls Friday as part of a research trip to learn more about Mayo Clinic and its recent transition to an integrated care model.

The way Mayo Clinic in Rochester collaborates with its community medical centers to share providers, hospital beds and patient records is unlike the system in Japan, said Eiji Habu, director of the Japanese Health Policy Bureau’s General Affairs Division, speaking through an interpreter.

Japan has a number of smaller community hospitals, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is interested in implementing reforms similar to the Mayo Clinic Health System model — “the most famous in the world,” Habu said.

Joining him was assistant director Maki Kobayashi and Mizuno Tadayuki in the Medical Institution Management Support Division.

The health ministry had studied literature from five years ago when Mayo Clinic’s model was still being developed, and the delegates said they were surprised to find it is already up and running.

They met with Mayo Clinic Health System executives Dr. Tom Witt, Steve Gudgell and Bill Priest to discuss the network’s operations before going on a tour of the 92,000-square-foot Cannon Falls medical center that opened last July.

The delegates noted a few minor differences along the tour, such as the process of doctors going between exam rooms to see patients.

Kobayashi said doctors in Japan typically have a dedicated room and patients come to them.

Tadayuki also remarked that it was impressive to see the large Mayo Clinic logo at the entrance of the Cannon Falls medical center.

“We’re proud of it,” Witt said.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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