Why Is Medical Innovation So Critical to Healthcare’s Evolution?

A Q&A with CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic, MD

Why Is Medical Innovation So Critical to Healthcare’s Evolution?

On the evening of the opening of the 2018 Medical Innovation Summit, we sat down with Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic, MD, to get his thoughts on how we are all working together to reimagine healthcare.

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Q: Why is medical innovation so critical to healthcare’s evolution?

Dr. Mihaljevic: Medical innovation allows us to create the healthcare of tomorrow. It has always been a critical part of Cleveland Clinic — of Cleveland Clinic culture — and it’s one of the reasons why people from all over the world come to Cleveland for their healthcare.

Q: Over your career, what one medical innovation has surprised you the most?

Dr. Mihaljevic: There have been numerous, numerous medical innovations. The ones that originated from our organization, Cleveland Clinic, have literally changed the world. I’m a heart surgeon, so I’m impressed by the medical innovation when it comes to the treatment of coronary artery disease — the first bypass surgery — that was performed and invented at Cleveland Clinic.

But most recently, we performed our first total face transplant in the youngest patient ever, after a series of complex operations in which hundreds of caregivers, surgeons and nurses participated over the course of several years. That’s just an amazing, innovative approach to healthcare.

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Q: As CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic, how do you ensure that innovation is given enough emphasis in caregiver’s daily work?

Dr. Mihaljevic: Innovation is a responsibility and an opportunity for each and every one of us, every single day. To find a solution, no matter how small or how large, to improve our workplace, to improve the quality of care that we provide to the patients who we care for. At Cleveland Clinic, innovation is supported for every caregiver.

We have the opportunity and the resources for every caregiver to submit their ideas through a central portal. We have a separate innovation center that supports innovative ideas of all of our caregivers and has been very, very successful at bringing all of those ideas from the caregivers to the patients at the bedside.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s Medical Innovation Summit?

Dr. Mihaljevic: This is a very exciting Innovation Summit. This year, I look forward to learn more about new breakthroughs, new ideas about how to make healthcare better. I believe that this is going to be a phenomenal gathering of entrepreneurs, caregivers, regulators and business leaders who are all getting together around the table to discuss how to improve healthcare for this nation — and the world.  

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Learn more about this year’s Medical Innovation Summit here.