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. 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. The Journal of Patient Experience is a peer-reviewed, open-access 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.
  • Plan of Care Visit: A Plan of Care Visit is when a provider, such as your doctor, PA or Nurse Practitioner, and a nurse meet with you together each day to review your treatment plan and answer your questions. Plan of Care Visits ensure that you, the patient and your loved ones, are involved in your treatment decisions. We want to make sure you and your caregiver team share the same goals.

Center for Spiritual Care

The Center for Spiritual Care provides for the spiritual and holistic care needs of patients, families, visitors, and Cleveland Clinic caregivers. Our clinically trained chaplains, holistic nurses, and Family Liaisons are committed to providing compassionate care that respects the beliefs and needs of each person.

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).

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.

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 through the Center for Spiritual Care, which includes holistic nurses, Spiritual Care chaplains, and Reiki practitioners.

Healing Services are offered to patients, families and employees, free of charge. Patients and families can call 216.444.2518. Any Cleveland Clinic staff member can order Healing Services via the electronic medical record.

Healing Services include:

  • Code Lavender: A personalized, rapid response holistic care service that 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. A wide range of holistic care services are available to create a personalized experience.
  • 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. At main campus, the Meditation Chapel, Muslim Prayer Room, and Jewish Prayer Room, are open at all times to people of all faiths for prayer and meditation. Prayer requests may be written in a book located at the back of the Meditation Chapel.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).

Healthcare Partners

The Healthcare Partner program is designed to include patients, their family and support person(s) in all decisions made about the design and delivery of care across the enterprise. Healthcare Partners volunteer their time and share their unique perspective for these activities. Our Healthcare Partners are currently embedded within institutes and committees across Cleveland Clinic. Their opinions are highly valued and have contributed to countless projects that impact the Patient Experience.

If you are interested in learning more about our Healthcare Partners program, please email OurVoice@ccf.org or Apply Now to complete the volunteer application.



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 e-mail us at ombudsman@ccf.org or 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.

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.



Volunteer Services

Cleveland Clinic Volunteers offer their time and talent in a variety of ways designed to enhance the Patient Experience.  Representing the diverse communities Cleveland Clinic serves, all Cleveland Clinic Volunteers start service by completing our onboarding process, which leads to becoming a member of the Cleveland Clinic Volunteer Services team.Throughout the onboarding process, individuals who seek to represent Cleveland Clinic as a Volunteer receive education, preparation and guidance for their role.Cleveland Clinic Volunteers embody the mission and values of Cleveland Clinic and embrace our Care Priorities: Treat patients and caregivers as Family; Commit to the Community we serve; and treat Cleveland Clinic as their Home.

If you are interested in volunteering with Cleveland Clinic, please visit our Volunteer Services Opportunity Page for more information or Apply Now to complete volunteer application.

You can also call 216.445.6986 or email volunteer@ccf.org with questions or to ask for assistance completing the application process. 

Please Note: To help keep our community safe, Cleveland Clinic requires all Volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Please be prepared to share proof of your vaccination during the onboarding process.