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Programs & Services

The Office of Patient Experience has dedicated resources and programs that enhance the patient and family experience, while also improving clinical outcomes.

Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit

Patient experience has emerged as a dynamic issue for healthcare CEOs, physicians, and industry leaders. No provider can afford to offer anything less than the best clinical, physical and emotional experience to patients and families. As patients become savvier, they judge healthcare providers not only on clinical outcomes, but also on their ability to be compassionate and deliver excellent, patient-centered care. The Patient Experience: Empathy and Innovation Summit is an annual, three-day, multidisciplinary conference devoted to exploring patient experience as a key differentiator essential to the future of healthcare delivery.

Access to Care

Access to Care is comprised of five different business units, each working together in unison to put Patients First. Cleveland Clinic provides our patients with World Class Care. However, as a patient, the size and scope of Cleveland Clinic may be overwhelming. Access to Care was formalized out of a need to simplify and streamline patient access to our highly regarded facilities and clinicians. It works to efficiently and professionally provide patients access to the highest quality care available.

The Appointment Center and Nurse-On-Call team up to fully understand our patients’ needs and schedule the correct appointment. Center for Systems and Training is in charge of building the scheduling algorithms and training users. Call Center Support Services helps the call centers achieve maximum efficiency and quality.

Association for Patient Experience

The Association for Patient Experience (AfPE) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization established to support healthcare professionals, patients, and their families by improving the patient experience. Directed by President James Merlino, MD, Chief Experience Officer, and supported by Cleveland Clinic, AfPE represents leading experts in the field of patient experience.

AfPE is committed to advancing the patient experience and positively impacting the global delivery of patient-centered healthcare. AfPE also publishes the Journal of Patient Experience, an online journal supporting AfPE’s vision as the recognized leader in education and information supporting the patient experience.

Best Practices in Patient Experience

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 team assists with the identification and development of best practices throughout the enterprise to enhance the patient experience initiative. Working closely with many institutes and divisions, the team focuses on HCAHPS domains as well as general patient experience improvement at hospitals, family health centers and other facilities across the organization, driving programs such as:

  • Medicine Communication: Communicating about medications is critical to a positive patient experience. A patient’s understanding of medications also drives safety and quality. Patients and their families deserve to know what medication they are being prescribed, why they are taking the medication, understand side effects that may occur while taking a particular medication and what to do if a side effect should occur. Our Ask 3/Teach 3 program helps patients understand their medications, and results have shown that they are more likely to comply with treatments as a result.
  • Quiet at Night: Adequate rest is a key element in helping patients heal. An enterprise-wide "Quiet at Night" improvement team created guidelines, including H.U.S.H. (Help Us Support Healing) protocol, to reduce nighttime noise in our hospitals. This includes specific interventions to reduce noise and provide a restful, healing environment for our patients from 9 p.m. - 7 a.m.
  • Purposeful Hourly Rounding: Patients like to know someone is watching over them. Rounding with a purpose not only fulfills the routine requests that are usually made when the call light is used, but also demonstrates nurses’ availability to the patient and their readiness to anticipate the patient’s needs. Hourly rounding with a purpose is proactive, allowing nurses to manage patient care and their own time more efficiently. Rounding is about building relationships and trust as much as it is about meeting physical needs.
  • Leadership Rounding: Occurring monthly at Cleveland Clinic hospitals, leaders are placed on teams of three and assigned to a particular inpatient or outpatient location for rounding. Information collected during the rounding session includes issues, comments, suggestions and needs from patients and caregivers. These items are addressed immediately or are addressed through an action plan. As important as a successful leadership rounding session is, a process to address the learnings from each session is equally, if not, more imperative.
  • Effective Nurse Leader Rounding: In order to assure every patient’s experience is always met with a nursing team of caregivers who are responsive to the needs of our patients and families, the Office of Patient Experience, in partnership with the Nursing Institute, launched Effective Nurse Leader Rounding at all CCHS hospitals. Effective Nurse Leader Rounding helps manage patient expectations, provide necessary service recovery, promote quality care, recognize exceptional caregivers and role model expected behaviors.
  • No Pass Zones: Our "No Pass Zone" program empowers all caregivers to not pass by patient call lights without acknowledging, answering, or resolving the patient's needs.
Center for Ethics, Humanities & Spiritual Care

A collaboration that brings together services that support patients, educate caregivers and assure best ethical practices, the Center includes the Bioethics, Medical Humanities, NeuroEthics and Spiritual Care departments.

Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication

Ensuring effective clinician-patient communication is the right thing to do for our patients, and critical to the delivery of safe, high-quality medical care.

How effectively clinicians communicate with patients 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. The Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication serves as an enterprise hub for education, training and resources to physicians and advanced clinical care providers around relationship-centered communication.

The Center and its programs are sponsored by the Office of Patient Experience (OPE) and the Office of Professional Staff Affairs (OPSA) and works closely with Cleveland Clinic Academy (CCA).

Learn more about the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication

Communicate with H.E.A.R.T.®

Communicate with H.E.A.R.T.® is Cleveland Clinic’s foundational communication model for delivering a culture of service excellence. The communication model empowers caregivers to provide outstanding service to patients, visitors and fellow caregivers, and it includes interactive activities to support the learning process.

The Communicate with H.E.A.R.T.® program includes interactive training sessions and learning activities that focus on Cleveland Clinic’s Expected Service Behaviors.

Employee Engagement: Cleveland Clinic Experience

The Office of Patient Experience supports several Human Resources initiatives to integrate an exceptional employee experience with a world class patient experience.

Research conducted by the Gallup organization has shown a strong correlation between overall employee engagement and patient satisfaction.

In the name of empathy, patient satisfaction and employee engagement, Cleveland Clinic Experience was introduced in 2010 to continue building a strong base of engaged and committed caregivers who are dedicated to fulfilling Cleveland Clinic’s mission of putting Patients First.

Cleveland Clinic Experience is an enterprise-wide initiative developed to enhance and transform the culture at Cleveland Clinic by integrating exceptional employee and patient experiences.

This formula was used to identify the initiative: Exceptional Employee Experience + World Class Patient Experience = Cleveland Clinic Experience.

The objectives of Cleveland Clinic Experience are to provide an opportunity for all caregivers to align themselves with Cleveland Clinic’s mission, values, expected service behaviors, Respond with H.E.A.R.T.® service recovery model and serving leadership principles in order to put Patients First and deliver World Class Care.

Cleveland Clinic Experience, our cultural transformation, is now part of new caregiver, nursing and resident orientations and is an integral part of the performance management process.

Learn more about Cleveland Clinic Experience

Healing Services

Healing Services are holistic care experiences that support your well-being and naturally help you relax and heal during your hospital stay. Healing Services are provided by the Healing Services Team, which includes holistic nurses, Spiritual Care chaplains, licensed massage therapists, Reiki and Healing Touch™ practitioners, and supervised volunteers. The Healing Services Team is a partnership between the Office of Patient Experience and the Spiritual Care Department.

Healing Services are offered to patients, families and employees, free of charge, at Cleveland Clinic main campus. Patients and families can call 216.445.9543. Any Cleveland Clinic staff member can order Healing Services via the electronic medical record.

Healing Services include:

  • Massage Therapy: Light, 10-minute massages (free of charge) are offered with a physician’s order for patients during their hospital stay. Chair massage is offered to families and visitors at scheduled times in the Rooftop Terrace of the Miller Family Pavilion and in the G100 Relaxation Suite.
  • Reflexology: The application of light pressure on specific points of the hands and feet that provide a healing effect on corresponding organs, glands, and other parts of the body. Most sessions have a relaxing, calming effect and provide physical relief. A physician’s order is required to receive reflexology
  • Reiki and Healing Touch™: Safe, gentle, non-invasive forms of natural hands-on, energy-based healing. These therapies help balance your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being to promote a deep sense of relaxation.
  • Code Lavender: A personalized, rapid response holistic care service provided by the Healing Services and Spiritual Care teams. It provides emotional and spiritual support as well as grief counseling when a healthcare team, employee team, patient or family would benefit from additional well-being support within 30 minutes. A wide range of holistic care services are available to create a personalized experience. Supportive services are offered for 72 hours after the Code Lavender is called.
  • Spiritual Support: Referrals can be made to the Spiritual Care Department for chaplain visits to minister to patients’ spiritual and religious needs. To schedule a chaplain visit, call 216.444.2518, or ask your nursing team to place a referral. The Interfaith Chapel and the Muslim Prayer Room are open at all times to people of all faiths for prayer and meditation. Scheduled services are offered during the week and can be watched on your inpatient TV on the Spiritual Care Channel (45). Prayer requests may be written in a book located at the back of the chapel, or call ext. 42518 to make a prayer request that will be acknowledged during worship services. Call the Prayer Line at ext. 57200 to listen to Christian, Jewish, or Muslim prayers.
  • Aromatherapy: A practice that uses aromatic essential oils from plants to promote relaxation, energize and reduce nausea and pain. Patients can choose mint, lavender and citrus essential oil based lotion for personal use.
  • Guided Imagery: A gentle technique that directs the imagination and all five senses to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety and pain. Healing Services offers individualized guided imagery sessions at the bedside.Guided imagery programs are available on your inpatient TV on the Relaxation Channel (36).
  • Instruction on Relaxation Exercises: Healing Services can provide instruction on a variety of calming and empowering mind-body exercises, which have been proven to decrease anxiety and pain, enhance sleep, and aid healing.
  • Healing Services for Families, Visitors and Employees: Offered at scheduled times in the Rooftop Terrace of the Miller Family Pavilion and in the G100 Relaxation Suite at Cleveland Clinic main campus.
  • Outpatient Integrative Medicine: Offered through the Center for Integrative Medicine. Fee-based outpatient therapies are available before and after your hospital stay. Integrative Medicine therapies are also offered to family members and visitors at any time to help decrease stress. For more information visit the Center for Integrative Medicine or to schedule an appointment, call 216.986.HEAL (4325).
Patient Concerns: Ombudsman Office

At Cleveland Clinic, our ultimate goal is perfect service. Occasionally, however, we may fail to meet our patients’ expectations. We recommend that patients first attempt to resolve a problem or concern with the department in which the problem occurred. If you don’t reach a resolution with the person providing your care, we encourage you to contact the department manager or supervisor. If these attempts are unsatisfactory, contact the Ombudsman’s Office and an Ombudsman will be assigned to investigate your complaint.

The Ombudsman Office is the liaison between Cleveland Clinic and the patient in resolving problems that may arise during the course of treatment. Cleveland Clinic’s Ombudsman Office was created in 1975 to provide patients with direct access to administration and to serve as a centralized complaint center.

An Ombudsman has the authority to investigate complaints independent of the departments involved. The Ombudsmen report to the highest level of Cleveland Clinic leadership: the Executive Administration.

97% of dissatisfied patients do not register their complaints because they do not know how or because they don’t think it will do any good. However, if you call us:

  1. You give us an opportunity to solve your problem, and in solving your problem, we also learn to provide better service.
  2. The information you provide is communicated to top administration and is used to provide data for the annual review of physicians and departments and to propose changes.

The Ombudsman Office can help:

  • If you have a problem with medical service.
  • If you have concerns about the quality of your care.
  • If you have a problem with any of our employees.
  • If we did not provide satisfactory service during an outpatient visit or hospital stay.

If service does not meet your expectations at Cleveland Clinic, please call us locally at 216.444.2544 or toll-free 800.223.2273, ext. 42544 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday, or you can leave a message any time. You can also use the contact us form or e-mail us at ombudsman@ccf.org.

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 Best Practice Award recognizes teams that use process and outcome measures to improve performance and, ultimately, the patient experience. The award also recognizes the individuals who have played a leadership role in promoting the use of performance improvement to enhance patient-centered care.

Patient Survey Administration and Data

Cleveland Clinic collects and analyzes patient feedback from several sources to provide greater insight about how our patients perceive their experience. We maintain a Patient Experience Dashboard for hospital leaders to monitor real-time survey results and feedback trends specific to their areas, and to help prioritize improvement initiatives.

Cleveland Clinic values our patient and family feedback. We share our positive survey scores and written compliments with our dedicated staff to reassure them in their daily efforts.

We continually review opportunities to improve the patient experience. By monitoring real-time patient feedback, individual departments are able to review their results and prioritize patient experience improvement objectives.

Referring Physician Center

The Referring Physician Center is a team of dedicated professionals committed to providing admission, discharge and expiration notifications for patients referred to our main campus hospital via letter, fax or email within 24-72 hours. Cleveland Clinic strives to assure that when a patient returns to a referring physician's practice, these physicians have the best information possible about their patient's care at Cleveland Clinic.

Cleveland Clinic welcomes the opportunity to partner in caring for patients. Our dedicated Referring Physician team is available around-the-clock and committed to serving you and your patients. Our Physician Relations team is responsible for continually addressing the needs of our customers – referring physicians and their office staff.

Our physician liaisons serve as your personal connection to Cleveland Clinic specialists and services, and are available to schedule personal office visits; address questions, concerns and issues; and much more.

Voice of the Patient Advisory Councils

Cleveland Clinic has implemented Voice of the Patient Advisory Councils (VPACs) across many institutes and areas that meet regularly to discuss and impact a variety of issues affecting patients and family members. VPACs include employees and patients and are a great resource to hear directly from the people we serve.

This advisory resource empowers patients and families to take an active role in improving the patient experience at Cleveland Clinic and provides real-time feedback and creative solutions to specific challenges.

Our VPACs have reviewed several hospital policies, including patient visitation and discharge information, helped define the expected service behaviors of all employees, renovated family areas, and developed educational materials for different nursing units.

A multidisciplinary Advisory Council oversees the activities of all VPACs.

For more information, contact the Best Practices Department in the Office of Patient Experience at 216.444.7500 or 800.223.2273 ext. 47500.

Volunteer Services

If you are looking for a unique opportunity to serve others, and at the same time learn new skills and make new friends, consider volunteering at Cleveland Clinic.

According to many of our volunteers, who we call Ambassadors, the most significant benefit they receive from volunteering is a genuine sense of satisfaction from helping others. Our Ambassadors come from every walk of life and they appreciate the opportunity to help others, learn new skills and make new friends.