"Patients First” is Cleveland Clinic’s guiding principle in ensuring exceptional outcomes, improving population health, and reducing the cost of care. These efforts create value for patients, payors and the community. Caregivers coordinate across the continuum to deliver safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and relationship-centered care.

To achieve the optimal patient experience and outcomes, Cleveland Clinic has developed an integrated care delivery model that is accessible, affordable and evidence-based. Cleveland Clinic’s relationship-centered culture leverages empathy and innovation to ensure a sustainable and viable future.

Patient Experience

We recognize the patient and the caregiver have a reciprocal influence on one another, and we believe this relationship is morally valuable. We strive to provide outstanding and compassionate care and service, every step along the way. Cleveland Clinic was the first major academic medical center to make patient experience a strategic goal and one of the first to establish an Office of Patient Experience. Our team of professionals provides resources and data analytics; identifies, supports, and publishes sustainable best practices; and collaborates with a variety of departments to ensure the consistent delivery of relationship-centered care.

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Patient Data

Cleveland Clinic tracks patient data such as inpatient HCAHPS ratings, patient safety indicators and outpatient experience to better understand and improve our patients’ care

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A Culture of Safety

Along with leadership commitment and robust process improvement, advancing a culture of safety is at the core of Cleveland Clinic’s efforts to promote High Reliability across the health systems in both clinical and non-clinical environments. Cleveland Clinic strives to achieve consistent excellence every day. Every caregiver finds what could go wrong, speaks up, and works to improve it. They listen, learn, and then lead to create effective, enduring solutions. 

Cleveland Clinic assesses safety culture via a validated survey instrument that provides benchmarks and department-level results. In addition to caregiver engagement, the caregiver experience survey assesses safety cultures with a focus on these key themes:

  • Error prevention and reporting
  • Organizational learning and continuous improvement
  • Communication openness
  • Teamwork
  • Handoffs and transitions
  • Management support for safety
  • Staffing
  • Workplace safety

Cleveland Clinic embeds quality, safety and improvement principles into its culture through standardization, best practice sharing and multidisciplinary collaboration. Leadership supports caregivers to speak up and report any event, process or condition that causes harm or has the potential to cause harm or injury. Safety Event and “near miss” reporting provides the opportunity to improve practices and prevent future errors.

Patient Safety Goals

In addition to meeting the National Patient Safety Goals as defined by the Joint Commission, a national healthcare accreditation organization, Cleveland Clinic’s Patient Safety strategy includes a focus on preventing complications, hospital-acquired conditions and infections, falls, and skin breakdown.

Cleveland Clinic’s focus on reducing complications including post-operative blood clots has yielded strong and sustained results. A 48% improvement since 2013 is attributed to improved screening, prevention and treatment strategies. Increased local awareness, accountability to best practices and ongoing measurement and feedback are keys to sustainment.

Blood clot reduction efforts have included updated radiology ultrasound orders to reduce unwarranted lower leg scans, improved usage of leg compression devices that prevent clots, enhanced medication management, and new screening practices for hospital transfer patients.

Patient Safety Goals

Environment Health and Safety

Cleveland Clinic is committed to creating, promoting and maintaining a safe, healthy environment for all caregivers, patients and visitors. The health system enforces all national safety requirements designed for health care organizations to provide safety from fire and to reduce patient and caregiver unhealthy exposures that may cause workplace injuries or illness, including those associated with harmful cleaning chemicals and potential allergens such as latex.

Quality of Care

Patients expect and deserve world class individualized, appropriate and effective care to achieve the best possible outcomes. Cleveland Clinic has a comprehensive program to monitor, assess and improve the quality of patient care. In partnership with frontline caregivers, quality professionals improve clinical practices to affect outcomes that matter most to our patients. Content experts bring knowledge of regulatory, safety, investigation and prevention strategies, as well as performance improvement tools to frontline caregivers.

In addition, Cleveland Clinic supports transparent public reporting of healthcare quality data and participates in the following public reporting initiatives:

  • The Joint Commission Performance Measurement Initiative
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare
  • Ohio Department of Health Service Line Reporting
  • National Specialty Society Databases and Registries

Additionally, Cleveland Clinic promotes transparency through publication of annual Outcomes Books and sharing physician-level patient experience ratings and comments on its public website.

Creating new models of care is a priority to ensure we continue to fulfill our “Patients First” commitment through delivering the best care at an affordable cost. As care delivery shifts from fee-for-service to value-based and bundled payment delivery system, Cleveland Clinic is focused on concurrently improving patient safety, outcomes, and experience in all healthcare settings. Examples of this include evidence-based care paths for many procedures and chronic diseases, integrating comprehensive care coordination for high-risk patients, creating virtual access points to optimize patient access, and ensuring that input from Patient and Family Advisory Councils is integrated into decisions about how our care model evolves.

Measuring and managing performance around quality and safety is an essential component of this work.

Cleveland Clinic Accountable Care Organization 2016

As part of Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to population health and in support of its Medicare Accountable Care Organization (ACO), these primary care ACO measures have been prioritized for monitoring and improvement. Cleveland Clinic is improving performance in these measures by enhancing care coordination, optimizing technology and information systems, and engaging primary care physicians and specialists directly in the improvement work. These pursuits are part of Cleveland Clinic’s overall strategy to transform care in order to improve health and make care more affordable.

Clinical Transformation

Cleveland Clinic is creating a model for the future of healthcare by focusing on access, quality and affordability. We are on a journey from volume to value-based care. Along the way, every caregiver at every level of the organization will be involved in transforming our care, our organization and our business to put patients first.

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“We are considering not only our duty to the patient of today, but no less our duty to the patient of tomorrow.”

—Dr. George Crile Sr., MD, Co-founder, Cleveland Clinic

Patients First

Patient Welcome Guide:

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