Finding New Ways to Reach Urology Patients

Outreach efforts aim to improve patient experience

650×450 Urology Patient Outreach

By Diana Baker, BSN, RN


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Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute has taken several steps to advance our core mission of improving patient experience, with the launch of live online chats, patient education classes and shared medical appointments.

These programs have proved to be extremely popular with patients. We have found that many people with questions and concerns take advantage of the live chat feature, which we began in 2014. We answer questions on topics ranging from kidney stones to prostate and kidney cancer. We provide guidance and, if needed, referrals to Cleveland Clinic services.

We view live chats as the wave of the future — a way to help people seeking easy access to reliable healthcare information, and a tool to attract new patients to Cleveland Clinic. After a live chat, participants are asked to complete a survey. Their feedback has shown us that patients find the experience convenient and are satisfied that their questions were answered.


Education classes address prostatectomy concerns

In 2015 we launched education classes for patients facing prostatectomy due to cancer. We chose prostatectomy as the subject of our first education class because the procedure is very common and raises many questions about erectile dysfunction and incontinence, two potential side effects.

During the one-hour classes, we review the prostatectomy process, including discussion of presurgery, the hospital stay, postoperative recovery and possible side effects. Our goal is to make patients as comfortable as possible. Spouses, significant others and family members are invited to attend. The classes serve not just as information sessions but also as a support group for patients, who are able to share their concerns and help each other.

We hold the classes twice a month at our main campus and monthly at our Hillcrest Hospital, with plans to expand to other locations. We also plan to post videos of the classes on our website for those who can’t attend in person, and we are exploring live-streaming classes so that viewers can ask questions in real time. We intend to expand the education classes to address other types of urological surgery. We hope to eventually publish the results of patient satisfaction surveys related to their experience with the education classes.

Shared medical appointments provide support

Finally, Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute offers shared medical appointments (SMAs) in the area of minority men’s healthcare. SMAs are an innovative approach that brings together a small group of patients with common needs to meet with physicians and other healthcare professionals. The sessions last about 90 minutes and are especially valuable for patients with chronic diseases.


The minority men’s SMAs, led by Charles Modlin, MD, MBA, Cleveland Clinic’s Executive Director of Minority Health and the founder and Director of the Minority Men’s Health Center, consist of groups of five to 10 patients. They focus on health issues such as diagnosis and treatment options for erectile dysfunction, screening and treatment of prostate cancer, benign conditions of the prostate, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, organ donation, and healthcare disparities affecting African-Americans.

Cleveland Clinic piloted SMAs more than 10 years ago and now offers them at several of our hospitals and family health centers. Our patients enjoy the opportunity to relate to other people who are dealing with similar health issues. They share stories and ideas, learn from one another and truly create a bond.

Ms. Baker is a Care Coordinator for Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute’s Department of Urology.

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