July 12, 2019

Speak Up for Patient and Caregiver Safety

How we are empowering caregivers

By Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD


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Sometimes the most courageous act isn’t what you do, it’s what you say.

Doing what’s right for patients — including speaking up on their behalf, for their safety — may not be easy, but it should never be optional. That’s why speaking up is becoming a vital part of Cleveland Clinic culture.

A new rallying cry

“Speak Up” has become our rallying cry, empowering all caregivers, not just leadership or those with seniority, to play a part in protecting patients as well as other caregivers.


Being open to constructive criticism and welcoming new ideas show others that speaking up in our organization is valued, not scorned — and those that do so should be celebrated, not shamed.

Celebrating those who speak up

At our Caregiver Celebrations event in June, I presented the first Speak Up Award to a resident who raised concerns about a patient’s condition following surgery. Because of her persistence, the patient was transferred from a med-surg unit to ICU right as their condition began to deteriorate. Speaking up saved the patient’s life.

Aaron Hamilton, MD, presents the inaugural Speak Up Award to Heeyoon Kim, MD, with Dr. Mihaljevic


If world-class care truly is our goal, then nothing should deter us from delivering it, not even fear. Perhaps no one says this quite as well as the Cleveland Clinic caregivers in this brief video.

Dr. Mihaljevic is Cleveland Clinic CEO and President.

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