Mark Wehde | Engineering at The Mayo Clinic
Who is Mark Wehde?
Mark Wehde is chair of the Mayo Clinic Division of Engineering, assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, fellow in the Mayo Clinic Academy of Educational Excellence, he’s also an associate lecturer for the University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium program.
Additionally, Mark serves as the executive leader who provides development and integration technology solutions across Mayo Clinic.
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engineering, engineers, learning, pandemic, mayo clinic, technology, patient, mayo, people, remote, devices, years, engineering team, started, work, xr, team, providing, organization, physicians
Mark Wehde, Presenter, Aaron Moncur
Hi everyone, we’ve set up this being an engineer podcast as an industry knowledge repository, if you will, we hope it’ll be a tool where engineers can learn about and connect with other companies, technologies, people, resources and opportunities. So make some connections and enjoy the show.
Mark Wehde 00:17
You know, we’re going to be providing sight to the blind through implants, we’re going to have given the ability to control the environment appearing quadriplegics, we’re going to see incredible new therapies like microbots that can move around the body to deliver various therapies. And I know some of this stuff sounds like science fiction, but folks are working on this stuff. And you know, there’s there’s good reason to think we’re going to be successful.
Aaron Moncur 00:55
Hello, and welcome to another wonderful episode of The being an engineer podcast. We’re speaking with Mark Wehde today, who is the chair of the Mayo Clinic division of engineering, assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the Mayo Clinic, College of Medicine and Science fellow in the Mayo Clinic Academy of educational excellence, and associate lecturer for the University of Wisconsin MBA consortium program. He is also the executive leader of a team of engineers, software developers and project managers, providing development and integration of technology solutions across the Mayo Clinic. Mark, thank you so much for for joining us today.
Mark Wehde 01:36
Absolutely. I’m glad to be here. And looking forward to our conversation.
Aaron Moncur 01:39
I have been as well. All right. We’ll start off with a question that I asked everyone at the beginning of this podcast, which is what made you decide to become an engineer?
Mark Wehde 01:49
Well, I’m not surprised. That’s your first question. That’s one of those questions that gets asked over and over and over. And really, I think there seems to be a common theme among engineers. And that’s a love of math and science. I loved math and science in high school and engineering just seemed to make sense. I didn’t I didn’t really know enough about in engineering in high school to really think about about making things and some of the things that I really came to love about engineers. And you know, that’s what engineers do. We solve problems and we make stuff. But what I did know is I was good at math and science, I knew engineering paid a decent wage, and I knew there were jobs available. So not too exciting. A reason maybe, but I’d have to say it worked out pretty good. And in the long run.
Aaron Moncur 02:32
Yeah. Sounds like a pretty common tale across different engineers. Yeah. Well, I’d love to hear a little bit about your journey from a development engineer through your current role as chair of the engineering division was, was this path always the plan for you? And like, kind of what what decisions or behaviors along the way facilitated your your career path?
Mark Wehde 02:55
Yeah, well, I really believe in serendipity. So you know, in many ways, our career appears on in front of us, and we just have to take the path, but I did have some some leadership experience in high school and college. So when I, when I started at Mayo, I remember thinking, you know, when I started there, you know, someday maybe I’ll be chair that would be that would be really interesting. I, I promptly fell in love with my work. And I actually forgot about that for the next 16 years, it turned out that I loved solving problems with technology. And I especially loved exploring new technologies, and I just got hooked. But about 16 years in, there was an opportunity to move into a first line management position. I hadn’t really thought about it seriously before. But you know, at that point, after having some serious internal conversations with myself, I decided to take the plunge and I became manager of a group of engineers and project managers. And then after that, I started a series of lateral moves. And I think lateral moves are really an underappreciated way to learn an organization and also to move into into kind of a different different career trajectory. So I first moved into a first line position with our mechanical engineering team and machine shop, and then after a couple of years and other lateral move to our electronic roots, and then I just kind of sat there for a bit really just developing skills. And then it was probably almost nine years later when I moved into a second line position with our electronics and software development team. And then another four years later, before I moved into the the chair position. And I, I really think that moving around the organization helped me a lot when I was managing our mechanical engineering team. I was all of a sudden not not the expert, and I learned a whole lot about about trusting the team. I think for for those of us who come out with a real love of technology, when we move into that first management position. They move us into that position because we were pretty good technically. So we’re probably One of the stronger developers so we, we have the sense we know, maybe better than our staff what they should be doing. And maybe in some cases we do. And we forget that that’s no longer our job. So moving to the mechanical team, I didn’t have any choice but to let the engineers do the the engineering and I started then really learning the soft skills around around leadership. And then your degrees in electrical engineering. Yeah, my degree is electrical and biomedical. So no background in mechanical engineering, although I did enough work with mechanical engineers that at one point, when I was doing technology work, I decided I needed a machining certificate so that I understood that side of the house a little bit better as well. And, you know, if I were to if I were to do something different boy, you know, I don’t I don’t know. I kind of like where I ended up. Had I moved into a management role sonar, I probably could have gone further in my career, but I’m really happy where where I’m at right now. So I think it worked out for me.
Aaron Moncur 06:04
That’s excellent. You mentioned having some serious conversations with yourself when deciding to move into that leadership role. I think that’s a really underappreciated skill, this this ability to reflect and and have those deep conversations with yourself, is there anything in particular that you do to help put yourself in the right state of mind that you can share with the audience? Well, I
Mark Wehde 06:32
think it’s really important to think about your your motivations, and perhaps separate your your ego from it a little bit, so that you’re not taking positions, just because you think you should, or because that’s the natural progression, or because you want to be perceived as a as a leader. So I think that’s a important part of it is really, really understanding your motivations. And then I think you have to think a little bit about about how you identify to because many of us, as engineers really identify as engineers, right? That’s kind of who we are, and how we see ourselves. And what I have found, as I’ve moved into a management role, the longer I’ve been in management roles, and the, you know, the, the higher up the organization I’ve got on the the more I’ve lost my identity as an engineer, and I now see myself more as a leader and and emphasize those business skills as opposed to the the engineering skills, but you never you never leave that behind, or you’re always an engineer, you always have that mindset around problem solving that is incredibly valuable in in the leadership of organizations.
Aaron Moncur 07:43
It’s funny that you say, you feel like you’ve lost your identity as an engineer, because I’ve experienced the same thing. You know, it’s, it’s kind of scary in a way, if you stop doing the the nitty gritty engineering work, you’re focused more on whatever it is business development, or soft skills or developing people leadership. And at some point, several years into that journey. Myself, I realized, you know, I haven’t done a whole lot of engineering lately. I think I’m pretty rusty. What happens if my company explodes and I need to go out and find a job, I don’t matter. It’s, it was an interesting headspace to be in that I had not considered before. You know, that part of my journey started.
Mark Wehde 08:23
I keep reminding myself I didn’t once if I need to relearn the skills of a technologist I can I can still do that. I still have the love and the passion for it.
Aaron Moncur 08:34
Yeah, absolutely. Well, before we met, I wasn’t even aware that the Mayo Clinic had a division of engineering. Can you tell us a little bit about what your division does? Is it you know, mostly like medical device development, but embedded within mail?
Mark Wehde 08:51
Yeah, so our engineering team has been at mail for a little over 107 years now. So aseptic surgery and anesthesia were first introduced in the United States in the late 1800s. And that really led to an explosion in the development of new surgical tools, and a hallmark of a male practice has always been around around innovation. And in order to meet the growing demand for new types of surgical instruments in 1915, the mayo brothers formed what they called the instrument shop, and this centralize the development and repair of surgical instruments. There were dozens and dozens of custom instruments that were created in the in the next 10 or 20 years, many of which were made widely available around the around the world and our team still does custom surgical tool development. We’ve got a machine shop that supports the entire organization and then layer on top of that now is a development team that’s focused on developing new devices, especially on helping our physicians and healthcare professionals innovate. We’ve got a quality management system we understand medical ready regulations, we got a robust safety risk man measurement process. But we aren’t a medical device manufacturer. We don’t sell in market, anything that that we make, what we do is we make devices that either go directly into us supporting our research or clinical trials or our clinical practice, or a whole lot of what we do supports innovation through prototypes that then maybe licensed medical device companies to to actually mature them.
Aaron Moncur 10:26
Well, yet another reason why the Mayo Clinic is such a prestigious organization, they have their own engineering partner department right there to make custom devices.
Mark Wehde 10:35
Yeah, it’s it’s a pretty unique resource. We tried to do some benchmarking a few years ago, and reached out to some of the other major academic healthcare organizations looking for a group that was was similar to ours. And we simply couldn’t find one, they all have engineering capabilities, engineering resources, but they’re normally in in conjunction with a university or something like that part of a research program. We’re a dedicated applied engineering group of about 70, folks that simply is there to make and deliver devices. We’re not a research group, we don’t do grant funded work, we’re not publishing and writing papers. For the most part, were simply there to innovate to create new and novel devices. So it’s really a fun place to be.
Aaron Moncur 11:20
Yeah, it sounds amazing. That’s a good size group to 70 people, you can do some damage with that. On your on your LinkedIn page, you have a banner that says discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life. I thought that was so. So interesting. Can you talk a little bit about that? And if you have one, maybe share an example from your life that illustrates that philosophy?
Mark Wehde 11:43
Yeah, well, I think it’s exciting to be on the front end of massively disruptive technologies, I think I think every generation has its opportunity. And there’s a special joy and trying to do something nobody else’s has ever done. But it’s also easy to get complacent, to stop taking chances to keep doing what you know. But it’s hard to get meaning out of that. And I think mail is great, because for more than 150 years, we’ve been constantly learning, constantly improving, constantly changing. And that’s risky. And sometimes it’s really, really hard. And on top of that, I think personal growth involves a lot of discomfort we’ve got we’ve got to struggle with our own demons with the with our own weaknesses. And in order to grow. And I’m not the I’m not the person that walked into Mayo Clinic in July of 1984. Not Not even close. And I also you know, if you think about some examples, and this isn’t really technology related, but I think it’s so important to our, our field, our STEM field is some of the work that I’ve done supporting diversity and inclusion. I’m, you know, a Midwestern boy and part of the patriarchy. And I’m trying to educate people like me who don’t see the harm the system has caused. And that can be a really uncomfortable journey. But it’s an incredibly meaningful space to be to be working on.
Aaron Moncur 13:07
Yeah, excellent, wonderful. Well, I guess, speaking of inclusion, that I think the intent for that discussion is to ultimately end up in a place of joy. And I read an article that you wrote, in which you shared a message from from your CEO about joy. And I was hoping you could share a little bit about what it’s like working at the Mayo Clinic, and how is this message and joy represented in the day to day to day work there?
Mark Wehde 13:39
Yeah. Now, that article that you were referring to was was something that I wrote a few months into the pandemic, and we had started working remotely and I was have gone back into work one day, because I was normally working remotely. And I had forgotten the connection that you have to the patients when you’re on site when you’re walking through the hallways, because, you know, we’re all of us as male staff, we’re surrounded by patients when when we’re there, and it reminds us of of what we’re doing and why we’re there. And I have have to say, healthcare workers are suffering from burnout at a higher rate, even before the pandemic. And now it’s even even worse. And it’s so incredibly important that we focus on building resiliency in our in our staff, and it’s clear that folks find meaning and purpose. People that find meaning and purpose in their works are just more resilient, and they’re more joyful. And if there’s a field where meaning and purpose is just baked into it, it’s got to be health care. So this is really important to us. Our leaders talk about it all the time. We’ve got work groups and committees that help with employee wellbeing and joy. It’s part of the message that our leaders share with us starting at the very top, our biggest joy promoter as our CEO, Dr. John Rico firouzja. It’s one of the messages that he shares with us on a regular basis and how this plays out and how we interact with each other. We ask our leaders to be true servant leaders and support their staff. And we see results in incredibly low turnover rates and high staff satisfaction scores, and especially in the scores that our supervisors receive. And we hear this expression people don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. And I think that’s part of why Mayo has such a such a low turnover, too.
Aaron Moncur 15:26
Well, that was the next question I was going to ask you about, as you’ve been there for quite some time, what what has made done to deserve such devotion?
Mark Wehde 15:36
It does verge on devotion at at time. And I, I think when you work in an organization, like Mayo Clinic, discussion of our values, the values of the mayo brothers are every are just everywhere, you’ll find very few people who can’t immediately immediately recite our primary value, our primary values, the needs of the patient come first, you could ask 70,000 of our employees and probably 69,900 would get it right. How many organizations every single employee knows their primary value, right? I think that’s, that’s, that’s a bit unique. So it needs the patient come first. And then layered on top of that the curiosity of our founders continues to impact us today, will and Charlie Mayo started the Mayo Clinic back in 1889. And they’re special to us because they’re associated with our best traditions of caring for others. And they’ve led us to a place that really exists in our mind, it’s a place where we work for the betterment of humanity. And that makes us better because of it. And there aren’t many other places where you can find that. And then think about it year after year, we’re ranked as the best hospital the best health care system in the world, where like the 1991 to 1998, Chicago Bulls only in a world where Michael Jordan didn’t leave for two years, right, just top of our game year in and year out. And the difference is, we don’t depend on superstars like Michael Jordan, necessarily, we depend on the system, right? The system sustains itself.
Aaron Moncur 17:09
Now, a friend of mine had an ailment, and it was fairly serious in nature. And he had visited several clinics and spoken with different groups, and he really wasn’t getting anywhere. And then finally he approached mail. And I remember him saying it was definitely more expensive than the other places. But once he got there, they had an entire schedule already planned out different experts that were planning to meet with him. And he said that the experience start to finish and he was there for several days, I think it was two or three days. But he said the experience start to finish was was just it was both mind blowing, it was so efficient and well organized and effective. He he actually did get a resolution to this condition of his and I mean, that’s pretty impressive.
Mark Wehde 17:59
Yeah, well, I think the the fact that we can solve very complex medical problems, you know, very, very complex, multi system kinds of issues is, of course, one of the hallmarks, but what you’re referring to, also is the patient experience, and that’s an incredibly important part of of what we do for our patients. When you walk in the doors, you’re inspired. It’s a beautiful facility. And the reason it’s like that is because people walk into that, and they have hope, right? They look around and say these folks know what they’re doing. And then when you look at the way we schedule our visits, if you’re coming in from a way, you know, our intent is to get you to appointment to appointment to appointment as quick as we can. My my mother in law was diagnosed with breast cancer in New Jersey a couple years ago. And so, you know, she would set up an appointment with her primary care, primary care physician would send her to a specialist who would then send her to a radiologist, you know, and it was like, three, four weeks between each of these and then, you know, eventually circle back around. That doesn’t happen at Mayo, it’s it’s, that all happens in a week, right? While while you’re there while you’re there visiting, if we look at you today, and so you need an X ray, you’ve got your appointment and an hour and you know, your your your next up getting getting your X ray. So they’re very efficient system. And it’s amazing given that we have over a million patients a year coming through coming through our facility.
Aaron Moncur 19:26
Yeah, that really is amazing. I mean, I’ve luckily, knock on wood hadn’t had any serious medical trouble yet, but just you know, the standard run of the mill stuff, I know how frustrating it can be having to go to a doctor to primary care and then get referred to this specialist and then go to a lab to get my blood drawn and just take so much time. You know, I’d much rather you know, pay the extra money, just get it all taken care of once. But
Mark Wehde 19:52
this was this was an innovation that actually Dr. Henry Plummer, one of our early physicians created we had a accustomed patient record it historically, physicians would keep their own records on the patient. There wasn’t one centralized place for a patient record. But that was one of the innovations of Dr. Plummer was creating an integrated record and that record would travel with the patient. So if you come down to Mayo before, there were electronic medical records that were tube systems and there were drops, where you could drop the records Florida floor, because the goal was always to get the record to the next physician before the patient could get there. So that was great. It was fascinating. So the really the the the medical record was was invented by by Henry Plummer.
Aaron Moncur 20:40
How cool. Okay. I have a question about the pandemic. Now, working at mail, even though you weren’t physically there during I imagine a lot of it because your team was probably working remotely, but you were, you know, kind of there and in involved in everything that was happening. What how did the pandemic change the like the day to day work at the Mayo? And do you have any experiences that that you can share about that?
Mark Wehde 21:09
Yeah, so some of our team was remote, but a lot of them, excuse me, we’re in person or machine as we couldn’t use our movie or CNC machines home, for example. So as you can imagine, at the start of the pandemic, things were a little bit surreal. Most of most of the engineering team, the engineers at least did transition to remote work within about a week. And within three weeks, we were putting all of our projects on hold to start addressing supply chain issues. And we we had to start becoming aerosol science experts. So our team got busy reverse engineering and fabricating parts that we couldn’t make we are couldn’t get couldn’t order through our supply chain, we made 20,000 face shields, we made 1000s of parts for respirators and nebulizers. We also studied started studying air clearance in our operating and procedure rooms, because we knew we had an airborne virus. And we had to figure out how long our operating procedure rooms needed declare before we can bring the next patients in. And along the way, we learned we could seriously scale back some of our processes and get rid of some administrative burden and still get a high quality outcome. And that was a lesson we took with us as things went back to normal. And then during that we also learned how to work remotely effectively with with our colleagues. And that allowed us from our Rochester base to start working with our colleagues in Florida and Arizona. And so over the last couple years, we’ve also really developed as a true enterprise wide resource. So a lot of learnings that the the engineering team is taking out of this experience.
Aaron Moncur 22:47
Yeah, that’s, that’s tremendous. I know that we’ve learned that it’s, you know, pipeline is actually kind of unique in this sense, because we always worked from home ever since the company started. And so as people were were moving out of offices and going home at the start of the pandemic, we actually moved into our first commercial space. And so we were, you know, always working remotely. And then now we’re here in person. And we’ve found that a really nice mix between the two kind of a hybrid situation isn’t worked out super well, for us. I imagine that’s the case for a lot of groups out there.
Mark Wehde 23:26
Yeah, for most of most of our team now has has migrated to a hybrid they go in when they need to when they need to work on stuff they work on at home when they can, the management team, like myself has maintained has stayed mostly mostly remote, because most of the work that we’re doing is communicating or exchanging information which we can do quite fine in this virtual world. But certainly our engineering teams are now about 5050 and some 100% on site.
Aaron Moncur 23:56
Yeah, our core value number two here at Pipeline is governed by productivity, not bureaucracy. And so I tell people, forever, your most productive, you know, you and your team. Well, let me take just a very short pause here and share with the listeners that Team pipeline.us is where you can learn more about how we help medical device and other product engineering or manufacturing teams, develop turnkey equipment, custom fixtures and automated machines to characterize inspect, assemble, manufacture and perform verification testing on your devices. And we’re speaking with Mark we’d today. Mark, one of the areas that you’re pretty familiar with is the the emerging field of remote healthcare. How has the pandemic affected this and, and like what can we expect to see developed in remote healthcare over the next several years?
Mark Wehde 24:47
Yeah, so our direction hasn’t changed. We, we know that remote health care is a big part of the future and even before the pandemic it was the one of the core components of what We call our bold, old forward 2030 strategic plan. So definitely definitely was the direction we were headed. But the pandemic did did a few different things. First, it convinced us as health care providers that we could provide a lot of great health care remotely, even with today’s technology. And then it also resulted in the relaxation of some of the regulatory hurdles that were probably going to take years to revise. So for example, prior to the pandemic, a physician in Rochester, Minnesota, couldn’t have a remote visit with a patient 70 miles away and La Crosse, Wisconsin without being licensed in both states. So you know, that was that was an example of one of the rules that was that was relaxed. And, you know, just it wouldn’t be been an impediment to providing an effective remote care. It also convinced us that remote care can work. I’ve personally had several remote visits, I go in if I need to, but much of what most of us need doesn’t require that in person visits. So I avoid a long trek to the clinic, the parking issues waiting and waiting in the waiting room is just so much more more customer friendly. And then we know remote care won’t be going away. And in fact, over the future is going to become even more Device Centric so that we can do more and more things remotely. And that not only in the home, we’re also seeing technology that allows us to move remote care from the large academic healthcare organizations like our Rochester facility out to community hospitals and rural locations. And I think that’s a huge advantage of being able to provide provide remote care.
Aaron Moncur 26:39
How big of a role do you think some of these consumer medical devices will play in remote health care? For example, like the aura ring, right, where it’s tracking different biometrics? Do you think that’s going to become more widely accepted? Or are there going to have to be much more dedicated? Like, I don’t know, more commercial grade type products that that people use remotely?
Mark Wehde 27:07
Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, the medical device space is, is highly regulated. And part of that is ensuring the quality of the data and a lot of these consumer grade devices, you know, it doesn’t doesn’t matter if it’s not really tracking your heart rate for a while that has no implications. But if you’re trying to diagnose or treat, you know, provide therapy for something that doesn’t work. And so I think it’s interesting, because we’ve seen a huge explosion in consumer wearables over the last 10 years, right? Everybody’s got one, I’ve got my iWatch. Everybody’s got their fit beds, what, whatever it might be. And now we’re starting to see that transitioning to medical devices. But it’s, it’s it’s not an easy move. And part of the problem is these companies working in that consumer, wearable space, don’t understand the the medical device world, right. And so there’s there’s a lot of learning that has to go on, they’ve got to understand the regulatory requirements. And, you know, it’s not that you can’t do Agile development and stuff like that, but you can’t drop new code once a day, once a week, you know, you just you just can’t do that. Because, you know, it has to be verified and validated before you can do that. So yeah, you know, there’s just a lot of constraints around it, I think, overall, there’s simply going to have to learn to work in a in a more regulated space, quality of data is going to be much more much more important. Or being able to identify when you have quality data and when you don’t, because you don’t necessarily need continuous data, either. So, you know, many ways of dealing with it.
Aaron Moncur 28:42
That makes sense. Well, you spent 16 years, you know, kind of boots on the ground engineering. And since then it’s been more leadership roles, but especially during those those first 16 years, and maybe now as well, what have been a few of the most effective ways that you’ve found to learn new technical knowledge. Yeah,
Mark Wehde 29:01
well, I mean, learning and learning is learning. So whether I’m learning technical knowledge to, you know, to just solve a problem, or whether I’m trying to learn leadership skills, I really approach it the same way. And I know everyone probably has their own style. Some folks just dive in some study on their own somewhere. And from courses and conferences, I tend to use all of these styles simultaneously. So self study, and then application, incredibly important that you’re applying the stuff that you’re learning. And I combine that with with formal education, too. I really don’t like to learn something without being able to apply it. And I think that’s just the engineer and me. But I like to learn how to do it right. And so I turned to formal education and books and things like that, to help do that. I also don’t want to solve a problem that somebody else has already solved, right? So I like to find solutions that some that already exist and be able to take those and build on them and make them my own And then in technology fields, much of what you’re learning is pretty new. So you got to be pretty aggressive sometimes at finding sources of information. Historically, when I was an engineer that was trade magazines, because things always showed up there first. But nowadays, you know, you got to be really good at finding things on on the internet, is where all the new stuff is.
Aaron Moncur 30:20
Yeah. I am a big fan of the mantra doing is better than learning about doing. And there’s a lot of book knowledge I learned in school. But But sadly, I remember very little of that. It’s the things that you actually do that you end up a learning really well and be remembering. Yes, exactly. Well, if you weren’t working at the Mayo Clinic, where else do you think you could be happy professionally?
Mark Wehde 30:49
Yeah. So I’ve been I’ve been fortunate, while while working at Mayo to have the opportunity also to do some some teaching and with within mail. And I’ve leveraged that into a couple of adjunct teaching roles at the University of Wisconsin MBA consortium at the University of Minnesota technology leader Institute. So I’d say teaching either engineering or leadership at a university might be my next choice, which kind of makes sense because I’m sort of doing that right now on a part time basis. But that said, if I were going to start my career, a new right now, I’d be awful interested in the AI and the XR fields. Mostly, those technologies are so cool, and they’re really complex. And I like doing things that are hard. Yeah.
Aaron Moncur 31:37
Now I’m certainly familiar with AI, but XR, I’m not sure I know what that is.
Mark Wehde 31:41
XR is just augmented virtual, virtual AR VR.
Aaron Moncur 31:46
I see it, I got it. I got it. Okay,
Mark Wehde 31:48
so XR is extended reality.
Aaron Moncur 31:50
I see. Okay, thank you for that. Well, that that is probably a good segue into this next question, which is what what? What tools do you think that we’ll see over the next five to 10 years from the medical device space?
Mark Wehde 32:04
Yeah, well, I think we’re gonna see a lot more wearables and implantables. I think these devices are going to be communicating with each other, you know, we’re going to have these body networks as well as communicating with the cloud. I also truly, truly hope that we figure out how to bring basic preventive care to everyone. So much of that can be managed through telemedicine. Atul Gawande once wrote that the biggest, biggest single biggest thing we can do to improve healthcare in the US is to make preventive care available to everyone. So I hope we can use these new tools really to reduce disparities in care. And then I think, we’ll see a lot more complex care done in home, there’s already entirely virtual hospital models like mercy, virtual and St. Louis. So it’s an entirely virtual hospital, they don’t have any hospital beds, all the equipment is taken to the patient’s homes. And I expect, I expect to see more and more of this. And there’s, there’s some great technologies out there, I expect to see, you know, we’re going to be providing sight to the blind through implants, we’re going to have give the ability to control the environment to pair and quadriplegics, we’re going to see incredible new therapies like microbots that can move around the body to deliver various therapies. And I know some of this stuff sounds like science fiction, but folks are working on this stuff. And you know, there’s, there’s good reason to think we’re going to be successful. And then AI is going to make huge changes in our ability to diagnose and treat various diseases. And these XR technologies are going to change how we educate our next generation of physicians and healthcare providers. And I really feel like we’ve reached a tipping tipping point, we’re seeing advances and a lot of synergistic technologies simultaneously. And I truly expect just to see amazing things over the next decade. I mean, the rate of change is just just exponential.
Aaron Moncur 34:00
Makes me feel very grateful to be alive at this time.
Mark Wehde 34:04
Yeah, yeah. It’s for somebody who loves technology, things are things are really happening.
Aaron Moncur 34:10
Well, just listening to talk is very inspiring. And I’m getting excited, you know, just listening to some of the things that you’re mentioning. I imagine that other people listening to this episode are going to feel the same way. For for those engineers out there who are listening to this and thinking that sounds really cool. You know, maybe they’re not in the medical space right now. But they’re considering a change what, what what things should they consider that that might affect their decision to whether they move into the medical device space, the bioengineering space?
Mark Wehde 34:41
And I think I think that’s a pretty pretty easy answer. Technology’s fun, and in any field, it’s it’s just a great space to be working in. But doing something that helps people is a really strong draw for folks that are working in healthcare in the medical device space. It’s still work, still a job, but there’s really some intrinsic rewards that go beyond the fun of playing with with cool technology. So I think that’s the biggest draw for people looking to go into the medical device or the the bioengineering space.
Aaron Moncur 35:11
Yeah. Well said, All right. Well, Mark, I think we’re about to the end of the questions. I wanted to ask you. Is there anything else that we haven’t talked about that we should I
Mark Wehde 35:22
think we’ve covered a lot of ground from? Okay, from from from college all the way to today? So,
Aaron Moncur 35:30
all right, excellent. Well, Mark, how can people get in touch with you?
Mark Wehde 35:34
Yeah, folks can can find me on on LinkedIn. And I assume if you’re, if you’re listening to this podcast, it probably has my name associated with it. So if you just search on my name, you should be able to find it. I think I’m probably the only one out there and LinkedIn, so
Aaron Moncur 35:49
perfect. And what about folks who might be listening to this thinking? Mayo Clinic? That’s where I want to work as an engineer. What’s, what’s the path to getting there? What should they consider?
Mark Wehde 36:00
Yeah, so great idea. So first, I’m, you know, I’m always happy to chat with folks that are interested in the medical device space. So you know, if they reach out over LinkedIn, I’m happy to visit with them. Mayo does have like most organizations, a job board where you can see what kind of jobs are available. So there’s a lot of engineering jobs at Mayo, of course, the the engineering team that I represent is is is one, but we have a very large biomedical engineering department in our research shields. So there, they hire a lot of PhD students and postdocs with with engineering degrees. There’s also a couple other small pockets of engineering at Mayo as well. So make sense to keep an eye on on the job board. But you know, also reach out to me if you you want some specific advice.
Aaron Moncur 36:50
Terrific. Terrific. Well, Mark, thank you again, so much for joining me today. It’s really been a pleasure getting to talk with you and hear a little bit about your story, your journey. Thank you so much for being on the show today.
Mark Wehde 37:02
Thank you for the for the opportunity. And, you know, I love encouraging and hopefully providing some enthusiasm for the next generation of engineers. I’ve had a wonderful career. It’s not over yet, but I get excited when I see other people starting their careers because I know how much fun they have in front of them.
Aaron Moncur 37:21
Wonderful. Thank you so much, Mark.
Mark Wehde 37:24
Yep, take care.
Aaron Moncur 37:28
I’m Aaron Moncur, founder of pipeline design, and engineering. If you liked what you heard today, please share the episode. To learn how your team can leverage our team’s expertise developing turnkey equipment, custom fixtures and automated machines and with product design, visit us at Team pipeline.us. Thanks for listening
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