Health Care and Wellness

Cleveland Clinic Plans to Double Patients Served

CLEVELAND – The CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, today announced a five-year strategic plan to double the number of patients served over the next five years, while making Cleveland Clinic “the best place for care anywhere, and the best place to work in health care.”

The plan was unveiled during Mihaljevic’s annual “state of the clinic address” presented to caregivers gathered in the ballroom of the InterContinental Hotel. “The world looks to us for innovative solutions to the greatest challenges in health care,” he said.

“We will care for patients and families across their lifetimes, with proactive care, supported with the very best of digital technology. And we will grow and double the number of patients we serve over the next five years,” he said.

2018 marked Dr. Mihaljevic’s first year as CEO and president of the clinic. Last year the clinic cared for more than two million patients – the highest annual total in its history, he reported.

Operating revenue increased 6.2% to $8.9 billion. Contributions to state and local economies – in the form of jobs, wages and taxes – totaled $17.8 billion. The heart and urology programs were ranked No. 1 in the nation by US News & World Report. And the Cleveland Clinic footprint continued to expand – in northeast Ohio, with the addition of Union Hospital in Dover and the opening of Cleveland Clinic Children’s new home; and in Florida, with the addition of four hospitals.

In 2019, Cleveland Clinic will continue to focus on the four care priorities it introduced in 2018 – care for patients, caregivers, the organization and the communities we serve.

Patient safety is “our non-negotiable priority,” Mihaljevic said.  Serious safety events – such as wrong-site procedures, patient falls with injury, retained foreign bodies, or other occurrences that may cause patient harm – decreased in 2018. “But we have to do better. Our goal for serious safety events is zero. To eliminate them.”

Last year, Cleveland Clinic ushered in a “transformative innovation” called tiered daily huddles, which tackle real-time problem-solving in 15-minute, stand-up meetings that occur daily in every part of the organization. Nearly 25,000 caregivers take part every day. Problems are resolved on the spot or escalated to a higher tier. At exactly 11 a.m., the CEO and top leadership meet to analyze quality, patient safety, and patient and caregiver experience issues across the enterprise, including the operating performance.

To further encourage caregivers to bring safety issues to light, Cleveland Clinic will present a new “Speak Up Award” for individuals and teams. “Silence is the enemy of safety,” he said. “Cleveland Clinic supports a culture where every caregiver can speak up, without fear, on matters of patient safety.”

In 2016 (the latest report issued), Cleveland Clinic added $17.8 billion to the local economy through wages and taxes. In 2017, the clinic provided more than $906 million in community benefit, including financial assistance, Medicaid shortfall, subsidized health services, outreach programs, education and research.

The Cleveland Clinic employs 66,000 caregivers worldwide, including 4,200 physicians and scientists, 2,800 advanced practice providers and 16,600 registered nurses.

Burnout among health-care workers has become a national problem, the CEO noted. Last year, Cleveland Clinic launched the Office of Caregiver Experience, the first in health care.

“We are approaching burnout by leveraging technology, teamwork, and improving wellness,” said Mihaljevic. “We have hired scribes and deployed voice recognition to make documentation more seamless. We expanded the care team by doubling the number of advanced practice providers in the last four years.”

Health care is under immense economic challenges, as costs rise and reimbursement falls, he continued. A new Healthcare Delivery Science Center will study care processes to determine the most effective and cost efficient approaches.

“We have to fight to keep costs low and care affordable for our patients,” Mihaljevic said. 

Access, too, is critical.

“Last year, we cared for over 2 million patients – more than ever before. Despite adding more facilities and more caregivers, we barely made a dent in demand for our services,” he said. “We can’t take this demand for granted. It’s our moral obligation to open our doors as wide as possible for those in need.”

Through physical and digital growth, Cleveland Clinic will care for more patients with each passing year.

New investments in infrastructure will provide additional access to the Neurological Institute, the Cole Eye Institute, Fairview Hospital and in the Mentor community. In Florida, the clinic welcomed four new hospitals from Indian River and Martin Health in 2019. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is expanding into cancer care. And Cleveland Clinic London is scheduled to open in 2021.

Telemedicine will further expand access, making Cleveland Clinic care “available to patients in every corner of the world,” Mihaljevic said.

“Everything we do and everyplace we are and will be, will bear the unmistakable stamp of One Cleveland Clinic – with the same quality and experience at every location,” he said. “This is the Cleveland Clinic way.”

Pictured at top: Tom Mihaljevic presents his annual report.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.