Cosgrove: Patient experience key to healthcare quality

The definition of care quality has evolved in recent years to incorporate patient experience, which is why the Cleveland Clinic created the position of chief experience officer, according to Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, M.D.

"Quality is more than just whether you live or die or not. Quality has to be the clinical experience, the physical experience and the emotional experience," said Cosgrove, who shared his thoughts on the future of healthcare and insights from his experience at the organization on physician recruitment, rural healthcare and patient experience, during a Nashville Health Care Council briefing on Friday.

Cosgrove said the Clinic created the position of "chief experience officer" to determine what changes would improve the patient's physical and emotional experience. One of the first actions the officer recommended was the redesign of patient gowns to make them more "dignified."

"Then we began to look at the emotional aspect of it and we realized that the emotional aspect of it was anyone in the hospital could affect the entire outcome," he said. For example, "if your room was dirty, it undid the work of the cardiac surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the cardiologist, the fusionist, the intensive care nurse."

Cosgrove also discussed physician recruitment, which he said is easier today than when he started at the Clinic. "If you build a strong institution, that will carry over into being able to attract great people," Cosgrove said. "Increasingly, people are beginning to realize that healthcare is no longer an individual sport, it's a team sport."

Responding to a question about the future of rural healthcare, Cosgrove said the solution is for it to move away from the hospital model. "Instead of building more hospitals, we're gonna build more ambulances and helicopters," he said.

Last fall, Cosgrove wrote that the Cleveland Clinic could serve as a model for the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care, saying that "criticism, misunderstanding, and a reluctance to do things differently" are holding it back, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Council's announcement