Cynthia Collie

Mayo Clinic Labs @Work

Thousands of people in hundreds of different roles work at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Mayo Clinic Labs @Work offers a glimpse behind the scenes into this busy reference laboratory, featuring staff from throughout the organization talking about what they do and why they do it.


What is your role at Mayo Clinic Laboratories, and how long have you been in it?

I’m a hospital account executive. I work directly with hospitals and health care systems for Mayo Clinic Laboratories, covering North Carolina and part of South Carolina. I moved into this territory in 2012, but I started in my role in 2007. My territory was a little different then. I had the mid-Atlantic at that time. But, like everything else, the role has evolved. Territories have changed, and the lab industry has really changed since then. When I first started, we did a lot of our meetings in the laboratories. Now, most of the decision-makers are outside of the laboratories. That’s been a significant change.


What does your typical day-to-day work involve?

The pandemic has made a big difference in the way I work. For a long time, we were not traveling in the field. I was back with clients for a few months. Now I’m back in my office for the most part. Prior to the pandemic, about 80% of my time was spent outside of my home office. During the pandemic, we did a lot of training — and that will really help me with my clients when we get back up to full speed. Right now, about 30% of my time is in the field with clients who are still willing to see vendors. When I’m in the office, my activities focus on client maintenance and growth, as well as procuring needed services for them. I also spend a lot of my time working with my team on prospective new clients.


How does your work benefit providers and patients?

Many of my discussions with clients' center around our testing. It’s not just about results, but about answers. Our clients’ patients receive the same state-of-the art diagnostic testing that patients at Mayo Clinic receive. That’s one of the biggest differentiators from other vendors. We actually have patients in beds. We understand what that means. Our clients also have access to our local area team, which includes clinical specialists, a regional service representative, and a technical support partner based in Rochester. That differentiates us, as well. In addition, clients can speak directly to clinical consultants at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Those are experts who are actually involved in testing and test development. Our quality and research differentiate us, as well. We go the extra mile to make sure every test is done accurately and in a timely manner to give providers and patients the answers they need.  


Is there anything about your role that people might find surprising?

When I first came to this job, I was used to doing everything myself. It surprised me, and I think it would surprise others, to know that this work is truly a team effort. Everything from the support we receive from operations in Rochester to our administrative assistants contribute to make us successful. I don’t think people realize that we have entire departments dedicated to functions like education and transportation. We try to match our clients’ goals, their initiatives, with the many services and tools we provide. I feel sometimes like a hotel concierge — it’s my role to connect my clients with the right people and services. We’re very good at homing in on the services our clients need and then developing those out.

We also have a lot of tools to help them in their own laboratories. We offer joint test catalogs, utilization management tools, and we provide validation and comparison samples for our clients to bring up new tests. We provide reports and test algorithms to help them optimize their testing. It’s part of our business model to help them enhance and grow their labs. I’m not on commission and neither is anyone on my team. We succeed when our clients succeed.


What part of your job do you find the most challenging?

The most challenging part is trying to manage things that are out of my control. Because we’re Mayo Clinic, our clients expect consistent excellence with everything. But perfection isn’t always possible, and we do run into issues. When we do, we acknowledge them, and we try to learn from it. We try to be transparent and involve the client in improving processes when we can. It’s a benefit for our clients that not only do we own up to mistakes, we correct the process, so it minimizes future problems. I appreciate when our clients provide constructive feedback. We learn from our clients, almost as much as our clients learn from us. That makes it feel like a true partnership.


What’s the most fulfilling part of your work?

I love the satisfaction that comes from meeting with my clients and helping them solve a problem — whether it’s a process problem, a lab problem, or a patient problem. When we work together, we can usually come up with a solution. That feels good. It also feels good to hear them compliment Mayo and the resources we provide, such as the Mayo Lab Inquiry system. When I hear those things, it makes me very proud to work for Mayo. I enjoy getting to know my clients because the more I learn about them, the more useful I am to them.

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