Has this Mayo Clinic doctor’s less-is-more future of healthcare finally come of age?

Victor Montori Mayo Clinic minimally disruptive healthcare

patient engagement conference MedCity ENGAGEDoing more with less is one of the more derided phrases in a world where cost-cutting and downsizing have been the go-to strategy for many segments of corporate America.

But that approach may be a hero for healthcare’s future, which will thrive only if health systems and the larger medical industry can solve patient engagement and innovative around healthcare delivery.

For about four years now, Dr. Victor Montori’s go-to phrase is “minimally disruptive medicine,” which posits that healthcare should get more hands off with its most troublesome patients: those with multiple problems like diabetes, depression or heart disease.  Instead of check ups that require coming into the hospital, imagine appointments over the phone or in the home. Plus, think about how to treat patients in a way that empowers them to take better care of themselves (treat the depression so they’ll be better able to do what’s needed to help heart disease or diabetes).


Montori is the director of the Health Care Delivery Research Program at the Mayo Clinic and one of the keynote speakers at MedCity ENGAGE,’s summit on patient engagement and healthcare delivery on June 5-6 in Washington, D.C. Here’s a capsule of Montori’s vision, which you’ll hear about at ENGAGE.

Can it change healthcare for the better?

The premise. Treat patients in a way that also lets them get the treatment they need, treat themselves and let them continue to live their lives. The way healthcare is currently treating patients with chronic diseases can have as much to do with issues like making sure patients take their medications and the poor results of treatment of diseases like diabetes. Minimally disruptive medicine tailors treatment in a way that cuts down on multiple doctor visits, numerous medicines and complicated instructions that can make it harder for patients to treat themselves.

In short: stop focusing on phrases like on “controlling their blood sugar” and instead thinking about letting patients do what they want to do. “If I am a breadwinner of the family, I still need to be able to do that,”Montori says.

The principals

Montori and his colleagues think four steps are critical to make their idea work:

  • “Establish the weight of burden.” Find a way to measure how much of a burden medical treatment puts on a patient’s daily life.
  • “Encourage coordination in clinical practice.” Create incentives that encourage holistic approaches and coordinating care.
  • “Acknowledge comorbidity in clinical evidence.” Develop approaches that will deal with the issues when a patient has more than one chronic disease (diabetes, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.)
  • “Prioritize from the patient perspective.” Get patients involve, including lettering them help decide which illness to treat and how deeply to treat it.

The promise

Suddenly, through this approach, patients will have more customized care that could include fewer medicines, be more straight-forward and offer easier-to-accomplish instructions at a lower cost. As Baby Boomers age the overall cost to healthcare becomes more manageable because patients are more likely to succeed with their treatment.

For many patients, it becomes less complicated to stay alive.

Dr. Victor Montori is one of the a diverse chorus of empowering and insightful speakers taking part in MedCity ENGAGE,’s summit on innovations in patient engagement and healthcare delivery on June 5-6 in Washington, D.C. Review the agenda, look at all the speakers and then join us in Washington D.C. in June.