Our Practice Model

The nonprofit group practice model. Cleveland Clinic physicians are paid a salary. They have no financial incentive to provide unnecessary tests or treatments. They work as a team to give every patient the best outcome and experience.

Patients come first. Cleveland Clinic is organized into patient-centered institutes that combine the medical, surgical and support functions for specific body systems or disorders.

Experience, expertise, empathy. Cleveland Clinic doctors treat more of the most complex patient challenges than any comparable medical center in America (according to CMS, the federal healthcare agency). They have unmatched experience in everything from the most rare diseases to the most common disorders. All Cleveland Clinic caregivers receive special training in empathy, communication and caring.

How it Started

Ninety years ago, four Cleveland physicians had a great idea for reducing healthcare costs. They planned a not-for-profit group practice where physicians from many specialties would collaborate for the more efficient practice of medicine. They established Cleveland Clinic as a not-for-profit group practice with a mission of patient care, research and education. Their great idea is still growing strong. Cleveland Clinic has grown through the years by remaining faithful to its founder’s vision and unique model of medicine.


Cleveland Clinic currently has the highest CMS case-mix index in America, meaning that it sees more of the most complex cases than comparable centers nationwide. Cleveland Clinic has a main campus, eight regional hospitals, 18 family health centers, and facilities in Florida, Nevada, Toronto and Abu Dhabi. Our locations are linked by health information technology and critical care transport, getting patients to the right facility, at the right time, for the right care. Our integrated structure enables us to control costs, measure and improve quality, and provide access to high-quality healthcare services across a broad regional system.

Patient-centered Institutes

Cleveland Clinic is organized into patient-centered institutes based around single diseases or organ systems. Each institute combines medical and surgical services at the same location under the same leadership to improve patient care and experience. Each institute is required to establish benchmarks and measure and improve quality. Institutes are also required to publish annual outcomes guides showing volumes, results, innovations, publications and other information relevant to patients and referring physicians.

Data and Outcomes Reporting

Since 2004, all clinical specialties at Cleveland Clinic have been required to collect and publish comprehensive data on procedures, volumes, mortality, complications and innovations every year. More than 14 outcomes books – for cancer, heart disease, urology and other conditions – rolled off the presses and were uploaded to our webpages this year. All of this data is helping us to identify opportunities and implement new processes that standardize approaches, reduce variability, and improve outcomes. It helps referring physicians make informed choices when they consider sending their patients to Cleveland Clinic for specialized care. Transparency is an essential part of our culture. Cleveland Clinic was the first major medical center to publish all physicians’ corporate and industry relationships on the organization’s public website as part of their professional profile.

Health Information Technology

A pioneer in the implementation of health information technology (HIT), Cleveland Clinic integrates its far-flung system with an extensive electronic medical records system. This system includes participating community physicians and patients, who are able to access test results and portions of their medical record at home via the Internet.

Cost and Value

The Cleveland Clinic model of medicine has made it possible for us to achieve cost savings on a vast scale during the recent recession. We were able to mobilize physicians and employees into hundreds of teams to address specific expenses. These teams cut costs from the operating room to the store room, something that would not have been possible in a more fragmented environment. Ultimately, we believe that the best outcome is the best value. Some of the most perplexing cost issues can be solved by answering a simple question: what’s best for the patient?


The Cleveland Clinic model of medicine is replicable. We have successfully transplanted our cultural DNA to Cleveland Clinic Florida, in Weston, and the Cleveland Clinic model will also be evident at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open next year.