In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

March 27, 2014

March Madness and Mayo Clinic’s laboratory genius

By Elizabeth Harty

It's too late this year, but before you fill out next year's NCAA college basketball tournament brackets, it may help to heed the advice in this article from Forbes magazine. If only because writer Roger Groves draws a comparison between the statistical geniuses in ESPN's numbers department and the genius of Mayo Clinic's Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. "I trust the ESPN department of statisticians," Groves writes. "To me, it is the sports equivalent to Mayo Clinic's lab staffs in the basement of Rochester, Minnesota, who work exclusively on medical issues of patients."



It's not every day that we see Mayo's laboratory staff mentioned in a sports business article, but we'll take it. Especially since we know they're much more than a bunch of scientists who spend their days staring at computer screens in a dark room deep in the bowels of Mayo Clinic. To give their work proper perspective, we thought we'd do some stats work of our own. Or at least ask the department's communication guru, Andy Tofilon, to enlighten us. "The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology supports physicians at Mayo Clinic and more than 4,000 health care organizations around the world," Tofilon tells us. Not only that, but about "75 percent of the objective data in a patient's medical record comes from the laboratory." (That's almost three-quarters, by our calculations.)

Here are a few more facts about the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology from our friend Tofilon:

  • 3,000 -- Employees
  • 23 million -- Lab tests performed each year
  • 2,800+ -- Lab tests available to Mayo Clinic physicians
  • 150 -- New lab tests developed each year, on average
  • 750+ -- Peer-reviewed articles authored each year
  • 35,000 -- Specimens that arrive for testing each day, on average
  • 6,600 -- Outside health care organizations that send tests
  • 4.5 million -- Patients touched by these testing services each year

Now that's what we call impressive. But, if you're still wondering what stats Forbes feels you must know for your basketball brackets, here they are, direct from the geniuses at ESPN's "Numbers Never Lie" television show:

  • The last 25 championship teams all had a positive assists-to-turnovers ratio and a Sweet 16 appearance the previous year
  • The last 20 championship teams all had at least three wins against teams rated in the top 10 percent
  • The last 20 championship teams all had a "Top 75 Strength of Schedule" rating

All good info to have. Until, Dayton, Harvard and Mercer come along and ruin … EVERYTHING!

Give yourself an edge by being one of the first to share your comments below.

Tags: Research News

Hey Andy, Bet you never thought you’d see this type of mention in the media. And love seeing the MML box beside the basketball.

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