How Cleveland Clinic Measures and Assures Safety

The Cleveland Clinic Patient Safety Program focuses on the continuous enhancement of safety for all patients, visitors and employees.

We are committed to a just culture of safety in which employees are encouraged to come forward when they or others make mistakes, allowing us the opportunity to improve the care we deliver and prevent potential errors.

Electronic Medical Records

Cleveland Clinic is a leader in the healthcare industry’s conversion to the electronic medical record (EMR), a computer-based version of the patient chart.

Initially launched at the family health centers in 2003, the EMR allows healthcare providers immediate access to a patient’s medical records, prescriptions and lab results. In addition, the EMR has virtually eliminated the risk for lost information and made it easier to meet The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals.

Moreover, coordinated care is enhanced as the healthcare team can access patient records simultaneously, greatly improving communication in a seamless process for healthcare providers.

Executive Leadership Safety Walkrounds

Executive Walkrounds offer insight into the care process and the potential of harm to the next patient. Team representatives from the Quality & Patient Safety Institute, unit/area management and a Cleveland Clinic senior executive walk a particular unit/area on a monthly basis.

The goals of these rounds are to:

  • Demonstrate to frontline staff senior leadership’s commitment to patient safety and develop an ongoing relationship with a clinical unit.
  • Emphasize dual ownership for unit level safety: staff and senior leadership.
  • Facilitate a non-punitive just culture of safety.
  • Encourage reporting of safety opportunities.
  • Speak directly to frontline staff regarding how we can improve our systems and processes.

Falls Reduction Program

Reducing the risk of patient harm resulting from falls is one of the National Patient Safety Goals established by The Joint Commission. Cleveland Clinic has a fall-reduction program that provides guidelines for everyone involved in the care of patients in Cleveland Clinic main campus, Children’s Hospital and the Emergency Department. The fall-reduction program includes patient evaluation, interventions, staff education and training, patient education and outcomes assessment.

Flu Vaccine Program

Each year, Cleveland Clinic offers all employees an influenza immunization in an effort to protect its employees, patients and visitors against the disease.

Hand Hygiene

Clean hands are the best protection against infection. With an increase in drug-resistant bacteria present in all hospital settings, it has become increasingly important for healthcare employees to follow hand hygiene guidelines, which is part of The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals.

When you clean your hands, you reduce the likelihood of spreading bacteria from one patient to another. In fact, Cleveland Clinic is part of a growing number of hospitals that monitor hand hygiene among employees. This effort is part of a comprehensive program to keep patients safe. Look for alcohol-based hand sanitizers around our facilities to protect the health of patients, visitors and employees.

Latex-safe Environment

Cleveland Clinic health system is latex-safe, so every reasonable effort is made to remove highly allergenic latex sources. This reduced direct exposure to patients and employees.

With less exposure to latex, our patients and employees have a reduced risk of developing an allergy. With the latex-safe initiative, only Mylar balloons are permitted at Cleveland Clinic.


Have you ever wished you could check your medical records at home or on the road? Now you can. Cleveland Clinic patients now have the ability to access a portion of their own medical record on the Internet, any time of day or night through a Web-based service called MyChart®.

Fast, easy and totally secure, MyChart is a breakthrough in physician-patient communication, and yet another example of how information technology is improving health care. All that is needed is internet access and an email account.

National Patient Safety Goals

Cleveland Clinic success is measured by meeting the National Patient Safety Goals defined by the Joint Commission, a national healthcare accreditation organization.

The goals are designed to ensure accredited hospitals are affording patients the best care possible. Medication safety measure, following hand hygiene guidelines and preventing patient falls are examples of these goals.

Patients as Partners in Safety

In March 2002, The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched a national campaign, “Speak Up,” to urge patients to take an active, involved and informed role in their healthcare. Patients who do so, according to research, are more likely to have better outcomes.

Cleveland Clinic has implemented a number of programs to encourage patients to get involved with their care. Inpatients can watch the video “Be a Part of Your Care” in their hospital rooms and all admitted patients receive comprehensive guides to the services they will receive at our hospital. They are encouraged to voice their medication or safety concerns.

Respond with H.E.A.R.T. Program

Despite our best efforts, there are times when a patient or family member may become dissatisfied, frustrated or even angry with us. It is times like these when we need to remind ourselves that patients are unique individuals with their own experiences, expectations and values, and they have come to us for help.

Our employees are trained to use our unique five-step approach, Respond with H.E.A.R.T. when dealing with challenging situations.

Our employees will:

  • Hear the concern.
  • Empathize with the way the person is feeling.
  • Apologize for the experience the person is having.
  • Respond with action to the problem.
  • Thank the person for giving you an opportunity to make things right.

Safe Environment

Cleveland Clinic adheres to the National Fire Protection Agency Life Safety Code, a set of national safety requirements that hospitals must comply with. These standards, which cover construction, protection and operational features designed to provide safety from fire, smoke, and panic, are enforced by Cleveland Clinic’s Environmental Health and Safety Department.

Safety Event Reporting System

Cleveland Clinic’s online Safety Event Reporting System (SERS) allows any employee to report a near miss, process problem, or a patient event. An event is anything that occurs in the hospital or outpatient setting that caused or has the potential to cause a medical error or injury.

Cleveland Clinic employees are encouraged to report events even if they did not cause harm to the patient. Reporting of "near misses" provides an opportunity for the Quality & Patient Safety Institute to identify flaws in the system and to implement changes before they impact the patient. As always, ensuring our patients’ safety is an essential part of our commitment to putting patients first, and you can make the difference.