When Rita Khan ’11 MBA joined Mayo Clinic in January as its first-ever chief digital officer, she knew that one of her primary responsibilities would be establishing the Mayo Clinic Center for Digital Health.
That initiative, focused on advancing the Mayo Clinic strategy of cure, connect and transform by providing data-driven and experience-led digital patient solutions, has become even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayo Clinic is focused on extending its virtual health solutions to address COVID-19 through increased telephone and video visits for both patients and providers. The organization also launched a COVID-19 self-assessment tool and continues to leverage its digital properties to communicate the latest information to patients and employees.
Khan credits her Opus College of Business MBA for improving her confidence, advancing her career and preparing her for leadership. “My undergraduate background was English literature, so I didn’t have a lot of the business foundation. The reason I went back and got my MBA was because when I was a program manager [at Best Buy], I was interviewing folks for my team and everybody had an MBA. I thought to myself, if I was [interviewing for that job], I might not have even been in the interview pool,” she said. “So it was critical for me to think about getting my degree to help with my advancement. I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to experience the MBA program because it filled in the gaps that I didn’t have, and it also enriched some of the experience that I did have.”
The intersection of digital, retail and health care
While use of telehealth – connecting patients to health care services through videoconferencing, remote monitoring, electronic consults and wireless communications – has increased rapidly over the last decade, the COVID-19 pandemic has by necessity accelerated its use.
“I’m hopeful that both on the physician side and the patient side, as people go through this experience, they see that it can be quite effective under the right conditions,” Khan said.
As she drives the creation of the Center for Digital Health, Khan is at the forefront of implementing a comprehensive business plan and digital standards that align with Mayo Clinic’s culture and values.
Beyond telehealth, she’s seeing the shift toward the consumerization of health care and will tap into her experience at top retailers including Target, Best Buy and Macy’s to drive Mayo Clinic’s strategy.
“Many people have heard of the book by Eric Topol, ‘The Patient Will See You Now’ … I believe that to be true, and people will want to shop for care like they shop for other things – with transparency – and feel more connected to their personal health data and information, as well as more visibility into the care they receive and a more real-time relationship with their health,” Khan said.
A community leader and mentor
Khan has received kudos from supervisors, direct reports and co-workers throughout her career, and always has sought to give back.
“I am passionate about the advancement of others and advocate for empowered teams, diversity and inclusion, development opportunities, and building the best solutions for the people we serve,” she said. “I serve on the board of the Mixed Blood Theatre and INROADS, both of which focus on community, advancement and education – areas aligned with my values.”
Khan credits her success to staying curious, not shying away from opportunities that may seem overwhelming, and having faith and trust in yourself that you can work with others to solve problems.