At the IMTJ Medical Travel Forum last week, Jim Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer for the Cleveland Clinic offered insight into how the hospital group has changed and adapted this year. Investing in a continually evolving culture, with patient centricity at the core, has been vital he says.
The Cleveland Clinic adopted several key principles as the Covid-19 pandemic hit, says Jim Merlino, including:
Jim points to the statement from Tomislav Mihaljevic, his Chief Executive Officer and President, on the Cleveland Clinic website. “Communication has never been more important. Honesty and transparency are essential. It’s
time to share information, not to withhold it. We are all on the same team. Not
only within our organizations, but in our broader industries and communities”.
As part of their support for the international community, the Cleveland Clinic has this year worked with over 200 businesses across a variety of sectors including airlines, hotels, retail, leisure, and manufacturing to help get people back to work.
Using the skills of their health experts, with input from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), the hospital group has launched a COVID-19 platform for employers ( www.clevelandclinic.org/covid19atwork ). Free to access, it offers a variety of industry playbooks covering talking points and advice for businesses looking to safely reopen.
The pandemic has served to accelerate strategies that were already being considered or put in place, says Jim. This includes greater use of technology for virtual health services. Before Covid, the Cleveland Clinic had 2,000 patients using telehealth, now there are more than 200,000. Jim sees it as a great opportunity to work with international patients for medical emergencies, and healthcare questions and concerns. However, he believes a big challenge over the next few years will be managing the legal aspects for cross-border teleconsultations and suggests that government regulation needs to be accelerated in this area.
In addition to frequent communications with patients, Jim says the Cleveland Clinic has learnt to work with both friends and competitors in healthcare. New opportunities and innovation have been identified by working differently, sharing best practice, and recognising that “we’re all in this together”.
The IMTJ Medical Travel Summit has been postponed until 2021 when we aim to deliver a virtual conference early in the year and a face to face conference in Autumn 2021 in Madrid. These plans may be adjusted, depending on the spread of COVID-19. Details of the programme for the 2021 virtual conference and the date will be confirmed here later this year.
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