“It Takes a Village” to Provide Exceptional Patient Care

Build the team and listen to its members, this gastroenterology leader advises

Building programs and solving problems bring the greatest professional rewards to Miguel Regueiro, MD.

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Prior to coming to Cleveland Clinic in 2018 to become Chair of the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and Vice Chair of the Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute, he spent almost two decades at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). There, he grew the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) program from a single physician (himself) caring for 50 patients into a comprehensive clinical and research enterprise with a multispecialty team caring for thousands of patients.

While at UPMC, he was able to break down segmented care for IBD patients and create a medical home — a treatment approach that gives patients one-stop access to a multispecialty clinical team and a spectrum of healthcare services that meet their needs in the most efficient and convenient ways, including remote monitoring, telemedicine and home visits.

“For these [IBD] patients, it takes a village,” explains Dr. Regueiro. “This model of care is really a wraparound of providing the whole person’s care in one place, with one team and doing so seamlessly.”

At Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Regueiro will continue building programs that deliver patient-centered care for chronic diseases using a multispecialty, population-health approach, starting with IBD.

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After nearly two decades at UPMC, why make the move to Cleveland Clinic?

Two main reasons: The opportunity to be Chair of the Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Department was hard to pass up. And Cleveland Clinic is looking to grow the population health model of care, and that aligns well with my interests. It was a perfect synergy.

In your opinion, what makes a good leader?

First and foremost is listening to your team. Hear what they have to say, what they need help with, what they are proud of and what they want to accomplish. Then you look for opportunities to connect all the pieces — that’s when you can grow something incredible.

How do you balance clinical duties and leadership duties?

Approximately one-half of my time now is patient care and that balance can definitely be a challenge. It comes back to the team. The balance comes by realizing it’s not just me and I am working with people I trust. The people around me make me a better clinician and leader.

Being as efficient as possible also helps. What makes an elite quarterback like Tom Brady so good? Natural talent and a great team, yes, but also that he makes a decision in a split second. In general, I don’t linger on decisions as long as I once did. I try to make the best decision I can as quickly as I can, and then move on to the next task.

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What keeps you excited about the future of healthcare?

I love working in teams to solve problems, build programs, and, most importantly, to help patients. The future of healthcare will rely on efficient patient-centered teams that leverage technology and are willing to think outside of the box. I’ve always enjoyed trying new approaches to medicine, whether it was my research on postoperative Crohn’s disease prevention or creating IBD specialty medical homes. The future is filled with new opportunities and unchartered possibility.

The new models of care, these medical homes that we are setting up, are very exciting. How do we look at taking care of the patient in a patient-centered way different than just the way one specialist would? [By] tapping into the patients’ lives, their family life, policy – an even broader spectrum of how I think specialty healthcare is going to be delivered.

What do you do in your off time? What’s your typical Sunday routine?

During football season I enjoy watching NFL games. Yes, I’m still a huge Steelers fan, despite moving to Cleveland!

Outside of that, I love the Sunday ritual of early morning coffee with my wife Carol and not having anything to rush off to, simply enjoying the downtime. Taking the dogs for a walk. Having that day as our time.