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About Office of Patient Experience

Patients First

Patient's First Pin

"Patients First" is the guiding principle of Cleveland Clinic. We strive to provide outstanding and compassionate care and service, every step along the way. Putting patients first requires more than world-class clinical care – it requires care that addresses every aspect of a patient’s encounter with Cleveland Clinic, including the patient’s physical comfort, as well as their educational, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Formalizing our commitment to this important work, Cleveland Clinic was the first major academic medical center to make patient experience a strategic goal, the first to appoint a Chief Experience Officer, and one of the first academic medical centers to establish an Office of Patient Experience. Led by James Merlino, MD, FACS, FASCRS, the Office of Patient Experience’s mission is to ensure consistently patient-centered care by partnering with caregivers to exceed the expectations of patients and families. Our team of professionals serves as an advisory resource for critical initiatives across the Cleveland Clinic health system. In addition, we provide resources and data analytics; identify, support, and publish sustainable best practices; and collaborate with a variety of departments to ensure the consistent delivery of patient-centered care.

Best practices are used in healthcare to deliver quality care that promotes optimal outcomes. The Office of Patient Experience has been identifying best practices throughout the enterprise to streamline patient experience initiatives, and a Best Practices Department was created in 2010. The Best Practices Department has a Director and Patient Experience Specialists who serve as experts in each domain of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. They monitor national and local HCAHPS trends to identify how the top performing hospitals identify and maintain success. They consult with Cleveland Clinic institutes and community hospitals to identify, implement, and promote best practices. They also perform unit observations to sustain best practices, which are promoted and shared so that other areas of Cleveland Clinic may replicate.

James Merlino

James Merlino, MD
Chief Experience Officer

Leadership

The Office of Patient Experience is directed by Chief Experience Officer James Merlino, MD, FACS.

Advisory Resource

The Office of Patient Experience team serves as an advisory resource, providing patient experience expertise for critical initiatives throughout the organization to ensure the consistent delivery of patient-centered care. The office also collaborates with many areas within the organization to develop and implement best practices aimed at improving the patient experience.

2013 Archives

2013 Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit Recap

Thank you to the more than 850 people who attended the 4th Annual Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit on May 19-21 at the InterContinental Hotel & Bank of America Conference Center on Cleveland Clinic's campus in Cleveland, Ohio. Attendees came from 34 states and 30 countries, representing hundreds of hospitals, healthcare systems and businesses around the world.

Why Customer Service Matters in Healthcare

According to Chief Experience Officer James Merlino, MD, patients are often made to feel that, because healthcare is a necessity rather than a luxury; they aren’t entitled to a superior patient experience, and why this is a big mistake.

At Cleveland Clinic, Patient Experience is Not Just About Patient Satisfaction

"The way we all get better is by sharing information," said Dr. James Merlino, Chief Experience Officer. "We like to share what we’re doing, and we encourage others to share with the group so that we can all improve."

The Talking Cure for Health Care

Dr. Adrienne Boissy, director of the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication at Cleveland Clinic, talks about how improving the ways doctors communicate with their patients can lead to better care—and lower costs.

Summer 2013 Patient Experience awards

On July 30, Office of Patient Experience leaders had the fortunate task of presenting Cleveland Clinic caregivers with our first-ever Patient Experience Awards.

The Patient Experience Awards recognize individual caregivers and teams for outstanding contributions to the Cleveland Clinic patient experience. The Office of Patient Experience recognizes winners for two separate award types - the Exceptional Service Awards and the Best Practice Awards.

Exceptional Service Awards recognize individual caregivers for displaying at least one of these characteristics: Consistent use of Communicate with H.E.A.R.T.SM tools, demonstration of Serving Leader qualities and displaying exceptional service above and beyond defined role.

The following caregivers were chosen as Exceptional Service Award winners from more than 170 entries:

  • Angela Clay, Case Manager, Main campus
  • Jeanie Foxx, Case Manager, Lakewood Hospital
  • Debra Gindlesperger, HUC, Hillcrest Hospital

Best Practice Award-winning teams included:

  • Discharge Time-Out (South Pointe Hospital)
  • Effective Nurse Leader Rounding – Building the CCHS Standard (Cleveland Clinic Hospitals)
  • Interdisciplinary Process for Improving Pain Management on the Oncology Units (Taussig Cancer Institute)

Thank you to all who submitted nominations for the Summer 2013 awards. We look forward to honoring another round of caregivers in November!

AFPE announces creation of the Journal of Patient Experience

At the May Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit, Dr. James Merlino, Chief Experience Officer and current president of the Association for Patient Experience (AFPE), announced the formation of the Journal of Patient Experience®.

In support of AFPE’s vision to be the recognized leader in education and information supporting the patient experience, the journal will reflect AFPE’s commitment to connecting caregivers and thought leaders to facilitate collaboration in providing patient-centric healthcare globally.

The journal will feature multi-disciplinary, multi-method research and best practices on a wide range of topics, including quality, patient safety, service excellence, patient engagement, metrics and data management and process improvement. The publication will include program evaluations, case studies, best practices, reports of developments and trends in the field, literature reviews and interviews with industry leaders, innovators, caregivers, patients and their families.

To keep up on the latest news about the Journal of Patient Experience, visit www.patient-experience.org.

2013 Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit recap

More than 850 people attended the 4th Annual Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit on May 19-21. Attendees came from 34 states and 30 countries, representing hundreds of hospitals, healthcare systems and businesses around the world.

Cleveland Clinic recognized for excellence in Patient Experience

As the nation continues to modify its approach to healthcare delivery, payments and value, hospitals remain on a quest of significant proportions: delivery of high quality safe care that keeps the patient and their experience at the forefront. The stakes are high. New hospital reimbursement models include the element of patient experience and consumers are becoming more and more invested in their care. This makes elements that have traditionally been the staple of service-oriented businesses—such as noise control and customer service—a key strategy in healthcare.

Healthgrades, a leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals, has chosen Cleveland Clinic as one of the recipients of its 2013 Outstanding Patient Experience Award. Winning organizations represent less than 15% of all hospitals and are chosen for providing outstanding performance in the delivery of positive experiences for patients during their stay.

To be eligible for the Outstanding Patient Experience Award, a hospital must meet the following requirements:

  • Clinical Quality Threshold: A hospital must be in the top 80% of hospitals for clinical quality as ranked by Healthgrades using Medicare data
  • Minimum Number of HCAHPS Surveys: A hospital must have data for at least 100 HCAHPS surveys to reliably assess performance

Healthgrades groups eligible hospitals into five categories. Hospitals in the top 15% with the highest overall patient experience scores in their respective categories receive the Outstanding Patient Experience Award.

The Office of Patient Experience thanks all caregivers for their continued commitment to providing an excellent patient experience and putting our patients first.

Cleveland Clinic celebrates its volunteers during National Volunteer Week

We are celebrating the valuable contributions of our dedicated volunteers during National Volunteer Week. Located at many Cleveland Clinic facilities, our volunteers provide compassion, understanding and empathy to our patients and visitors in a variety of roles — from assisting visitors at information desks to visiting patients on nursing units to delivering patient mail. An incredible group of people, our volunteers lend their time and enthusiasm to the organization.

As part of National Volunteer Week from April 22-26, 2013 we encourage caregivers, patients and visitors across our facilities to acknowledge and thank our volunteers. If you encounter them in action, please take a moment to thank them for their service and their commitment to this organization. These individuals contribute significantly to Cleveland Clinic goal of improving the patient experience.

Many rewarding volunteer opportunities exist for both Cleveland Clinic caregivers and community members. If you or someone you know may be interested in volunteering, please contact Volunteer Services at 216.445.6986 or visit the Volunteer Services website.

Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication reaches milestone

Effective clinician-to-patient communication has emerged as a very important issue in healthcare. In the last three years, Cleveland Clinic has emerged as a leader in the field of patient experience and improving clinician communication.

A major catalyst for improvement is the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication (CEHC), an enterprise-wide resource for physicians and advanced clinical care providers around relationship-centered communication. Established in late 2010, the CEHC offers a variety of resources, including a series of courses designed to provide a better understanding of the importance of proper communication, to teach effective communication skills and to provide an opportunity for participants to discuss their own communication challenges.

The first course in the series, Foundations of Healthcare Communication, provides a framework that enables physicians and advanced clinical care providers to become more effective in communicating with patients, more efficient, and improve patient and physician satisfaction. Last month, the CEHC saw its 600th physician complete the course.

"The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and powerful,” says Dr. Adrienne Boissy, CEHC Medical Director. “We hope that every clinician will complete the series of courses, because we all face similar challenges. The courses let us capitalize on each other’s strengths and learn more about our own blind spots with respect to communication."