Mayo Clinic

Center For Innovation
Project Re-Engineering Dialysis (RED)

“My wife and I have to be fairly upbeat, because this is what it will be like for the rest of our lives.”
— Dialysis Patient



Service and Research Designer


Project Description:

The Center for Innovation worked in collaboration with Mayo Clinic's nephrology department to re-imagine and re-design dialysis treatment. The team was composed of partnerships with physicians, RN’s, LPN’s, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers and transplant surgeons. The design team focused on learning through observations, interviews and secondary research. Observation method were specific to the examination of the patient's experience throughout the Mayo Clinic Health System.



  • Conducted collective and independent interview of patients, care team members and exam room observations.
  • Conducted interviews in spanish, including a group interview including multiple spanish speaking patients.
  • Provided sketches for the general depiction of personas.
  • Gathered and provided hard and scientific data during team meetings.
  • Methodical use of PubMed, MDConsult and UpToDate to conduct academic and reviewed research.



Create frameworks to understand research findings and an initial list of possible concepts.



Healthcare: Dialysis: Literature Sample

In order to familiarize myself with this procedure, the first step was to read as much literature as possible.

We used MindNode to map the path of patients on dialysis according to literature and research. The map became highly detailed, in order to not overlook any opportunity for innovation.

Healthcare: Dialysis: System Map Overall

“The first three months were the worst, I was very depressed.”
— Dialysis Patient
Healthcare: Dialysis: Dialysis Center

Healthcare: Dialysis: Dialysis Center

Healthcare: Dialysis: Dialysis Patient

Healthcare: Dialysis: Dialysis Patient

Talking to patients was crucial throughout the whole project. Their input gave insight and context to our literary research and interviews collected from healthcare professionals.

“I am looking forward to be fortunate enough to receive a transplant”
— Dialysis Patient

Created illustrations to represent the different personas encountered in our research. The sketches allowed us to depict the story, while maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of each patient.

Healthcare: Dialysis: Patient Illustrations

Healthcare: Dialysis: Patient Illustrations

“The amazing thing has been to observe how really understanding the patient’s perspective seems to have given permission for people to take risks and try new things”
— Senior Systems Analyst at Mayo Clinic

Healthcare: Dialysis: Analysis

Healthcare: Dialysis: Synthesis

We continuously compared new insights with our ongoing research in order to find any opportunities for innovation. When new insights were discovered they would be mapped on a wall, where they would be evaluated for possible improvements


During Project Red, I learned about the complexity of of healthcare stage. All the participants are there to fulfill a roll, as a patient, healthcare professionals, dietitians, social workers, procedure personnel or administrative parties. Diversity manifests itself not only in education or career paths, but also in character, principles and personalities.

Although our methodology was patient centric, we found that every touchpoint was connected. In the end we delivered a tool that placed first and foremost the values of the patient and expanded outward to each touchpoint in the system.

Amy Williams, M.D., and Krisa Ryan, a design researcher, discus the reengineering dialysis project at the Mayo Clinic, and the experiences and findings from the project.


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