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Expanding Global Reach, Standardizing Workflows Among Top Priorities at Healthcare Summit

Cleveland Clinic reinforces operating model for international patient-centered growth


A panel discussion at the 2022 Becker’s Hospital Review Healthcare Conference in April highlighted the ways in which Cleveland Clinic is expanding its global reach to increase healthcare access around the world. The institution’s patient-centered operating model was among the session’s principle themes, as were its strategies for implementing shared solutions and creating standardized workflows worldwide.


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“Our success comes from combining our organization’s culture with the cultures of countries all over the world,” explains cardiologist Maan Fares, MD, Chairman of Global Patient Services. “Guided by our core values of quality and safety, empathy, inclusion, integrity, teamwork and innovation, we are working to make it easier for patients to access Cleveland Clinic care. With this in mind, we’re continuing to extend our mission of caring for life, researching for health, and educating those who serve on the frontlines of medicine.”

Broadening access to world-class care

Among Cleveland Clinic’s chief priorities, explains Dr. Fares, are supporting strategic global growth, enhancing patient experience and loyalty, building a culture that encourages physicians to collaborate across disciplines, developing service lines of particular interest to international patients, expanding innovative research programs, and creating new educational opportunities and training programs for future clinicians and hospital leaders.

“Although each one of our hospital locations is unique, the fundamentals of who we are and how we treat patients remain the same,” explains Mike Kessel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland Clinic Canada. “Our goal is to create programs that enable our patient-first mantra to resonate all over the globe.”

Cleveland Clinic, which employs 72,500 caregivers worldwide, has 226 outpatient locations and 21 hospitals.

Fostering healthcare relationships worldwide

Designed to broaden and strengthen the organization’s reach, Cleveland Clinic’s international initiatives include:

  • Global patient services
  • Global consulting and operations
  • International business development
  • In-country representatives
  • Digital health and virtual second-opinion services
  • Affiliations and advisory services

“We understand that all healthcare providers essentially want the same thing, regardless of where they live and work,” says cardiologist Suma Thomas, MD, MBA, Vice Chair of Strategic Operations for the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute. “Cleveland Clinic aims to provide a standardized patient experience, and we believe that requires a consistent commitment to improvement that considers the unique culture of each local market.”


Kessel adds, “A century ago, Cleveland Clinic’s founding physicians coined the phrase ‘act as a unit,’ and we strive to do just that whether we’re in Cleveland, London or Abu Dhabi. This team-based infrastructure has enabled us to build and maintain formal and informal caregiver networks that ensure both enterprise and cultural alignment.”

Panel participants described the joys and challenges of providing healthcare to international patients. Despite the countless social and political rules that must be navigated when establishing roots in a new community, Dr. Fares says Cleveland Clinic caregivers remain focused on leveraging their clinical expertise to deliver consistent, meaningful care.

Dr. Thomas concludes, “When working in a new culture, one of our goals is to create a foundation that is true to our Cleveland Clinic culture while allowing space for innovation and flexibility. It takes time and patience to implement change, so it is incumbent on our clinical and administrative teams to work together.”


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