We had the honor of listening to James Merlino yesterday, James is the Chief Experience Officer at the Cleveland Clinic. He shared with us his inspiring story on how they turned the topic of patient experience to a #1 priority at the Cleveland Clinic.
Our director Lucien Engelen started the masterclass with his presentation on where we are heading as Radboudumc and REshape Center. He talked about all the eGo systems that are currently used in healthcare which should be turned into an eCo system. The only constant in healthcare is the patient, so why don’t we give them ownership of their data? (More about this on our HereIsMyData page)
Lucien then gave the word to James Merlino, and one of his first questions to the audience was: “Who wants to be a patient? I offer you a trip on a private jet to Cleveland so that you can get heart surgery tomorrow! Nobody? See, no one wants to be a patient.” This point has been made very clear at the Cleveland Clinic, everybody who works there has to learn how it is to be a patient and also: How to communicate with a patient.
To realize this, they’ve taken patient centered care (although we like to call it ‘patient as partner ) and took it to a whole new level. They have trained all their 46.000 employees to be aware of the world of patients and focus on patient communication for physicians and other caregivers. Even though the costs of this massive ‘overhaul’ were around 9 million, the costs of not doing it would have been even higher, not just in money.
When asked by someone from the audience if the Cleveland Clinic acts by ‘do it the Cleveland way, or get out’ James says that there has to be a zero tolerance policy for employees. The patients should be first and employees second. This does not mean that employees are completely out of the picture. Study has shown that patients wants their caregiver to look ‘happy’ or more so not angry, in a rush or frustrated. Patient wants their caregiver to have full attention for their problems and worries. As Merlino says, “It’s a matter of asking over and over again, taking the time to get the real opinion of the patient.”
Merlino then showed the audience the following video about empathy:
His final slide showed us the Cleveland Clinic slogan: “Every life deserves world class care.” We couldn’t agree more with this statement.