January 16, 2015

How Did Cleveland Clinic’s Urology Program Rise to No. 1?

Department chairman shares formula for success

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By Edmund Sabanegh Jr., MD

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In 2014, U.S. News & World Report named Cleveland Clinic the No. 1 medical center in the nation for urology care. Of course, we are thrilled and humbled at the same time.

This marks the third time since 1990 that we have received the honor, having hovered near the top of the rankings most other years. With so many excellent organizations in the urology field, competition within the Top 10 is tight. Moving from second place to first is a difficult feat.

What helped Cleveland Clinic make the gain is our Patients First philosophy. Each of our nearly 150 team members in the Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute’s Department of Urology tries to keep a razor-sharp focus on outcomes, patient safety and patient satisfaction. Each of us acknowledges the pride that comes with taking superb care of patients.

Focus on Patients is Key

Putting patients first is the foremost discussion topic when we interview potential new team members, not simply their national or international urological expertise. We listen to what candidates’ colleagues say about their demeanor and bedside manner. We spend extensive time talking about Patients First during our employee orientation process. We wear the motto on our lab coats. And we make sure our team members embody it, by regularly analyzing patient survey data.

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While we are honored by the recognition from U.S. News & World Report, the judging we ultimately value comes from our patients and their families.

Keeping patients first for the long term requires developing the next generation of urological treatments and training the next generation of urology caregivers. Cleveland Clinic’s Urology Residency Program has been among the most competitive in the United States, and in September 2014 it was ranked the nation’s No. 1 urology training program, in a physician survey conducted by Doximity and U.S. News & World Report.

Value of Education and Research

Led by Cleveland Clinic urologist Steven Campbell, MD, PhD, who has had a lifelong commitment to education, and a cadre of dedicated medical educators, our training program attracts smart, competitive trainees who engage in a partnership with their instructors. During their six-year residency, trainees dedicate one year to urology research. Cleveland Clinic is one of only a few programs to retain research as part of its urology training. We know research is vital to our success in caring for patients and to propelling the field.

In light of our top rankings, some have asked what proven practices we will carry forward. I tell them that, other than maintaining our Patients First focus, our one constant will be driving change. Being named No. 1 is certainly not the time to settle for the status quo.

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Pushing the envelope is in the DNA of all of us at Cleveland Clinic. We will continue to develop new and better ways of treating urologic disease and providing the highest level of patient care.

Is it important for us to maintain our No. 1 ranking? I think it is more important to maintain what the ranking represents: putting patients first so that Cleveland Clinic continues to be the destination of choice for quality of care, urologic outcomes and patient experience.

Dr. Sabanegh is Chairman of the Department of Urology in Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute.

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