Retail health care (Mayo Clinic style) comes to the Mall of America

An unlikely Mayo Clinic location will pop up next week as the venerable institution continues down the path of engaging with consumers.

On Aug.11, visitors to the Mall of America will be able to stroll through a 2,500-square-foot space that is designed to be a cross between a high-tech retail store like Apple or Microsoft and an interactive library of Mayo Clinic health information that focuses on health and wellness.

The Create Your Mayo Clinic Health Experience is a place where Mayo Clinic aims to entertain and educate the public on matters like nutrition, sleep and exercise. In turn, the interaction will help Mayo gather information on what will inform the second phase of its activities at the nation’s largest mall: a permanent Mayo Clinic facility.

“We are considering this a laboratory of sorts because we are going to learn from the public which of the health and wellness services would they want available on a daily basis during mall hours,” said Dr. David Hayes, medical director for the Mall of America project.

As mall visitors enter the Create Your Mayo Clinic Health Experience space, they can register on tabletop touch screens to be issued a card with a unique code. Touch screens mounted on walls can help them check their symptoms on any current conditions they have. And to learn more, they can interact with any of the five kiosks specifically designed to provide information about key subjects: eat well, relax, sleep, move, motivate.

Visitors also have the chance to purchase products that can help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as the Mayo Clinic Diet Book and its accompanying workbook. For younger visitors, Mayo has created an augmented reality feature that will serve the purpose of delivering information in a fun way.

Hayes said the increased emphasis on interactivity and high tech in the store’s design came out of feedback from the public because Mayo Clinic decided to crowd source ideas about what people would like to see in the space. That is also reflected in the look and feel.

“When they walk into the space, it will be like walking into an Apple Store or a Microsoft store …,” Hayes said, noting that the design also drew inspiration from wellness retail stores.

The store will have sales associates — Mayo Clinic employees — who can help visitors in buying Mayo’s products. To stress the health-and-wellness mantra, there will be “health experience navigators,” Mayo Clinic employees who have specific experience in health and wellness. They can answer questions visitors have, as well as help them to take wellness assessment tests that Mayo will offer.

Aside from the 2,500-square-foot space, Mayo will also open a smaller, 1,500-square-foot location that will offer clinical services on a rotating basis in the future. Available by appointment and for a price, the first such service will be a gait analysis to judge how an individual walks.

In July, Mayo Clinic became possibly the first health system to create a social network of its own. And it appears that Mayo’s Create Your Mayo Clinic Health Experience may be a first, too.

“We have looked not only in the U.S, but also overseas and indeed a number of people have put clinical services and put them in a mall venue, but no one has specifically done what we are doing that we have been able to find, which is this combination approach to health and wellness, patient education and products that would help support that all in one venue,” Hayes said.

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