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Cleveland Clinic Summit: Sharable and Scalable Patient Experience Ideas

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

cleveland clinic summitA few weeks ago, when we spoke with Dr. James Merlino, Chief Experience Officer of the Cleveland Clinic, he was looking forward to the upcoming Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit. In that conversation, he told us, “Patient experience impacts all of us, and the only way healthcare organizations can get better is to share their information so we can all improve together.” The Patient Experience Summit delivered on that expectation.

In our continuing podcast series, Lonnie Hirsch had an after-event conversation with Dr. Merlino about the highly successful Summit. This Summit is about bringing together people to help improve what all of us do every day, which is to make the experience better for our patients,” Dr. Merlino said. We are fortunate with the diversity of attendees this year…we have hospital presidents, physicians, nurse leaders, people who direct patient experience initiatives at hospitals and large healthcare organizations, as well as front-line physicians, nurses and improvement project managers from across the United States and across the world.”

Attendees came from over 850 attendees from 34 states and 30 countries. And, having hosted the Summit for four years, one of the key observations is that attendees want to know what best practice ideas are working and apply it in their organization.

Patient Experience Ideas that are Sharable and Scalable

“[Summit participants] are looking for scalability,” Dr. Merlino told us. “They want to know—if the Mayo Clinic is doing something, or if Cleveland Clinic is doing something—how can they apply it to their organization, regardless of size. And likewise, big organizations are looking at small organizations that have been successful in this space and asking the same question, can they scale it up?

“So it’s not good enough to tell people about what you’re doing or how successful you’ve been. They want to know what you’ve done, how you know it’s successful, and more importantly, how they can take what you’ve done and apply it to what they are doing.”

What’s more, the Summit evaluations indicated that the content was 50 to 75 percent new information to attendees, and that shared ideas would be put into practice with 95 percent saying they are likely or very likely to change a practice at their organization. “All indications are that, when speakers talk about best practices around HCAHPS, people are taking those best practices and trying them in their environment.”

Further evidence of success of this year’s Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit can be found in the numbers: “Of the people who attended, 99 percent would recommend it to a colleague; 57 percent rated the Summit among the top ten of those they’ve ever attended for value; and 97 percent said the Summit met their expectations.

In the following podcast interview, Lonnie and Dr. Merlino talk about keynote speakers and topics, important “takeaway” ideas, and the highly successful—and unusually candid and insightful—CEO panel discussion.

The Summit is a unique, three-day, multidisciplinary conference devoted to exploring patient experience as a key differentiator essential to the future of healthcare delivery.

Our previous interview with Dr. Merlino, At Cleveland Clinic, Patient Experience is Not Just About Patient Satisfaction, is available here. And looking ahead, a next year’s Summit—the 5th Annual event—will be held May 18-20, 2014 at the Intercontinental Hotel & Conference Center in Cleveland.

Lonnie Hirsch

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James Merlino, MD, is the Chief Experience Officer of the Cleveland Clinic Health System, and is a practicing staff colorectal surgeon in the Digestive Disease Institute. He is also the founder and current president of the Association for Patient Experience. As a member of the Clinic’s executive team, he leads initiatives to improve the patient experience across the Cleveland Clinic Health System.

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