Cleveland Clinic is caring for more patients by building a sustainable model for growth that embraces digital care, expands our service and location offerings and reduces healthcare costs. Our multidisciplinary caregiver teams provide a continuum of compassionate care and support to patients throughout their health journeys.
In 2021, we committed to an enterprise-wide access transformation to dramatically improve the way we connect people with care—knowing that to be the best place to receive care, we have to be the best place to access care.
The first question we asked ourselves was, “what do people want when they access care?”—and second, “do we really know?” We’ve since reviewed the literature, including internal and external research in healthcare and other industries, thanks to the support of our strategy, marketing and patient experience teams. We found that across industries, people want immediacy, convenience and autonomy. When individuals have control, their experience improves. In healthcare, that means we need to be available in ways that are consistent and transparent across modalities, and at the same time, make people feel reassured and known as an individual.
Our opportunity to differentiate as a healthcare provider is to be more available, remove pain points, know our patients and give them control.
We laid out an operational and strategic plan with key building blocks that connected and unified work across our IT, Clinical, Marketing and other teams. Since then, we have operationalized patient outreach, scheduling over 66,000 appointments for needed care as of March 2022. Our patients and caregivers have expressed appreciation for this work, which will be integrated as a standard processes in our future operating system.
We also launched a massive digital marketing effort to establish Cleveland Clinic as the industry leader in health information. This is important because our website is a key entry point and often represents the earliest experience for people seeking access to our care. That work is currently ahead of schedule for content development and organic website traffic, with 153 million visits to clevelandclinic.org as of March 2022, up 75% from March 2021. Additionally, traffic to our health library was up 148% year over year for this same period.
We have also made technology improvements to expand online scheduling capabilities. From April 2021 to March 2022, 66,654 patients scheduled screening mammograms via MyChart, and our patient self-scheduling interactions have increased 67% year over year from March 2021 to 2022. We also expanded the features of our MyCleveland Clinic app to offer integrated functionality of MyChart, Virtual Visits, bill pay and other services, and offer a localized version of the app for CC London.
Throughout this work, we have remained deeply committed to our guiding principles: empowering our caregivers to treat our patients like family, deliberately leveraging technology and employing a true “continuous improvement mindset” throughout, with ongoing learning and iteration. While this work requires significant organizational investment of time and resources, we are committed to executing it the right way—remaining focused on patients and outcomes.
Cleveland Clinic Community Care is our platform for delivering exceptional care that is personalized, equitable and accessible for patients and communities. Community Care physicians are part of teams that include advanced practice providers, nurses, medical assistants, behavioral health social workers, pharmacists, care coordinators and navigators.
Using data to target improvement and patient engagement, these care teams focus on optimizing patient outcomes, quality and cost through proactive management of a patient's health, wellness and chronic diseases.
Community Care's Clinical Operations include departments that provide coordinated care across the practices of adult and pediatric primary care, consultative internal medicine, geriatrics, hospital medicine, medical care at home, clinical genomics, functional medicine, and wellness and preventative medicine.
These teams work together to provide continuity of care throughout the health journeys of our patients.
The Community Health and Partnerships team uses internal capabilities and collaborates with community partners to bridge clinical efforts with community needs, removing barriers to care.
These barriers often include social needs, or nonmedical aspects of individual and family lives that can affect health and well-being, such as housing (stability and quality), food (stability and security), legal needs related to immigration status, eligibility for public health insurance, employment, housing access and government benefits access for income maximization.
Research & Innovation
Researching for health is an essential part of our mission. Cleveland Clinic’s research model brings together basic science researchers, clinical investigators and caregiver teams to address patients’ unmet needs. Despite the ongoing pandemic, our research activity remained robust in 2021: Cleveland Clinic received $326 million in research funding and supported 3,234 active research projects.
Cleveland Innovation District
Cleveland Clinic’s research efforts play a large role in our economic impact. In 2021, we partnered with JobsOhio, the Ohio Department of Development, University Hospitals, The MetroHealth System, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University to launch the Cleveland Innovation District, a public-private partnership to attract and support new businesses and talent with the goal of positioning Ohio as a leader in the healthcare and IT sectors.
The district will serve as a catalyst for economic development in Northeast Ohio, with the goal of creating 20,000 jobs over ten years. It will also add more than 400,000 square feet of research space, doubling our research footprint on our main campus.
Global Center for Pathogen & Human Health Research
As part of the Cleveland Innovation District, the State of Ohio, JobsOhio and Cleveland Clinic are investing a combined $500 million in the Global Center for Pathogen Research & Human Health. Headquartered in Cleveland with locations in Florida, London and Abu Dhabi, the Center is organized around six highly collaborative programs with multidisciplinary experts in virology and immunology; personalized medicine and genomics; population health; drug discovery; diagnostic development and integration of big data with patient care.
Researchers at the Center will expand critical work on studying, preparing and protecting against public health threats such as HIV/AIDS, Dengue fever, Zika and COVID-19. In 2021, scientists in the Center conducted groundbreaking research to expand understanding of COVID-19, including how infection affects pregnant women and newborns, and ways immune responses to the virus varied between men and women.
The Center will generate new start-up technology companies in the Cleveland Innovation District, attracting world-leading corporations to Ohio. It will also generate an estimated 7,500 jobs in Ohio by 2034, and Cleveland Clinic set a goal to hire an additional 1,000 new positions by 2029. In 2021, Cleveland Clinic hired 300 individuals in research, education, information technology and supply chain positions—a significant step toward our goal.
In 2021, Cleveland Clinic and IBM announced a partnership to establish the Discovery Accelerator, a joint center to advance the pace of discovery in healthcare and life sciences by using high-performance computing. Research will focus on digital technologies and artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and hybrid cloud, quantum computing and education and outreach.
The Discovery Accelerator will analyze massive datasets to speed and enhance research in the new Global Center for Pathogen and Human Health in the fields of genomics, population health, clinical applications and drug and vaccine discovery.
Located on Cedar Avenue in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood, the Cleveland Clinic BioRepository opened in October 2021 and was the first new building in the Cleveland Innovation District. The 22,000-square-foot facility will provide advanced cold-storage capabilities for biological samples and serve as a community resource to improve awareness of ongoing research and career opportunities in the medical field.
The BioRepository will enable researchers to link stored biospecimens with health data to study how genetics, lifestyle and environment interact to affect health, and analyze the course of diseases and treatments to advance personalized medicine for conditions such as cancer, epilepsy and heart disease.
The building also houses a Research Access Center that welcomes community members to learn about medical research, ways to participate in research and career opportunities in the medical field. Students in the Fairfax community are invited to meet and interact with healthcare professionals at the BioRepository to learn about careers in medicine, the health professions and health sciences.
Additionally, Cleveland Clinic commissioned a permanent, public work of art for installation outside the BioRepository at the corner of 97th St. and Cedar Ave. Learn more about the permanent work of art, entitled Dawn, which the artist developed in collaboration with Fairfax residents to represent their visions of hope and solace.
The mission of Cleveland Clinic’s Virtual Health Program is to connect anyone to care, from anywhere. We seek to harness technology to reimagine and transform care, expand access and deliver the best patient-centered experience.
Cleveland Clinic’s program offers a range of synchronous virtual offerings, including paramedicine, on-demand urgent care, telestroke, primary care, behavioral health, medical and surgical subspecialty visits, eCoaching, shared medical appointments and remote patient monitoring. Asynchronous options include adult and pediatric express care eVisits, eDermatology, ePharmacy and written second opinions.
Digital Equity Program
Digital access plays a crucial role in the overall health and well-being of a community’s residents. It affects an individual’s access to education, health information and care, and employment and economic opportunities. Digital access refers to:
- Access to low-cost, high speed internet service.
- Access to effective, reliable devices.
- Digital literacy skills and knowledge.
Although digital technology is increasingly available to many, some families may face situations that limit or prevent their access to this important resource. In an ongoing effort to positively impact the overall health of our communities, Cleveland Clinic Community Health & Partnerships is partnering with community and social organizations to address this need through the Digital Equity Program.
The Digital Equity Program is designed to meet the diverse and differentiated digital access and literacy needs of our patients through referrals to trusted community partners, who provide a wealth of services including low-cost/no-cost devices, affordable high-speed broadband services and digital literacy training.
The first phase of the Digital Equity Program focused on developing and validating patient screening strategies using community health workers, primary care social workers, medical assistants and residents from Lerner College of Medicine. Patients from Langston Hughes Family Health & Education Center and the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Family Health Center were screened as part of a pre-visit consultation (which included other Social Determinants of Health questions).
During the fourth quarter of 2021, over 300 patients were screened and about 40% of those patients were referred to our digital equity partners for connectivity, devices or digital literacy support.
In the second quarter of 2022, we completed the integration of our MD-Staff credentialing system with Epic. This integration allows our scheduling tools to reflect the most current state licensures for each provider, thus ensuring that new out-of-state patients are scheduled for virtual visits according to the latest telemedicine guidance.
Another benefit is enabling providers to continue seeing established patients located out of state, thus allowing patients the ability to maintain their relationship with their provider even if they move out of state.
As a result of this integration, Cleveland Clinic providers credentialed through MD-Staff may see new patients virtually where the patient is physically located, at the time of the visit, in a state where the provider is licensed. This integration fulfills two objectives:
- Ensures compliance with updated state provider licensure regulations.
- Increases access for new out-of-state patients to be seen virtually by an appropriately licensed provider.
Because of this integration of MD-Staff to Epic, we are able to schedule virtual appointments for new out-of-state patients so they can be seen by a Cleveland Clinic provider.
MyClevelandClinic and MyChart
Cleveland Clinic’s Virtual Team and Information Technology Department worked to redefine our digital front door to provide ease of access to care through the MyClevelandClinic patient mobile application.
MyClevelandClinic improves the patient experience by consolidating our mobile apps into a single app where patients can access MyChart (our online portal that connects Cleveland Clinic patients to portions of their electronic medical record), virtual visits, visitor information and more.
The platform is available 24/7, secure and free to download. Some key features in the app allow users to:
- See a healthcare provider live 24/7 for non-emergency concerns.
- See Cleveland Clinic providers for scheduled appointments.
- View health records.
- View test results.
- Schedule appointments.
- Message a doctor’s office.
- Pay bills.
In 2021, MyChart users increased 24% over 2020 to 2 million users. To improve access to MyChart, we began offering patients the option to view MyChart headers, titles and navigation instructions in Spanish. To view MyChart in Spanish, patients can click the Ver en Español link in the upper right-hand corner of the log-in page. The mobile app will automatically update if the patient’s phone language setting is set to Spanish.
A plan-of-care visit brings together the provider, nurse and patient at the bedside to communicate the patient's daily plan of care. This discussion standardizes how patients and caregivers collaboratively develop treatment plans that provide the highest quality of care.
Plan-of-care visits benefit both patients and caregivers by:
- Including patients as part of the team creating a collaborative treatment plan.
- Involving patients in making decisions and inviting them to ask questions about their daily plan of care.
- Increasing caregiver engagement and communication using our team of teams approach.
- Improving patient safety, satisfaction and health outcomes.
By creating a collaborative treatment plan with patients as part of the team, we also reduce patients’ length of stay and readmissions. Due to the success of this program, we continued to promote adoption across the organization in 2021. We increased the frequency of daily conversations among patients, doctors, nurses and other caregivers through plan-of-care visits from 55% in 2020 to 82% in 2021.