Friday, October 19, 2018

Book Review: 'The Cleveland Clinic Way: Lessons in Excellence from One of the World's Leading Health Care Organizations' by Toby Cosgrove

The Cleveland Clinic Way: Lessons in Excellence from One of the World's Leading Health Care Organizations
By Toby Cosgrove

Review by David Wineberg

Cleveland Clinic means different things to different people. For me, it is all about management bravery. Cleveland Clinic abandoned the common hospital model and turned it on its ear. It revised its entire structure around pathologies, what they call institutes. So instead of being sent from radiology, to neurology, to some other specialty, negotiating different appointments on different campuses over a period of months, everything necessary to analyze a particular disease or condition is available right there in the institute. All the specialists are on hand. All the hospital’s expertise is gathered for the patient’s benefit. So for example, neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry are all in the Neurological Institute. Brilliant. It is the apotheosis of patient-centered medicine.

But that’s just the patient side of things. This book is about the monster of technical innovation that Cleveland Clinic has built. It is not your average community hospital. It is a $6.5 billion healthcare system with 43,000 caregivers. That means it has critical mass. It means there are doctors and technicians with ideas they are anxious to commercialize. Daily. Rather than have them leave and create struggling startups, Cleveland Clinic has created an A-Z infrastructure for them. They get all the resources they need, from Entrepreneurs in Residence to physical facilities, to innovation communities of the likeminded. They get profit sharing, their names on patents, and the global lead and recognition in improving medicine.

The company goes to every conceivable length to make every employee aware that it values innovation. It has questionnaires to find weak spots, scorecards to see how disciplines and departments are innovating and how they value the resources, and outside networks, partnerships and alliances to leverage their as well as their own inspirations. This book is a lovefest for the billion dollar innovation side of Cleveland Clinic.

It reads very much like any other business self-help book on startups, except Cleveland Clinic has the internal capacity, funding and backing to pull it all together in a first class manner. Dr. Tom Graham is the Chief Innovation Officer (the title alone spells out the difference) and this is his domain. He is justifiably proud of it, and describes how we can all emulate it. Assuming of course, we have a six billion dollar institute behind us, with the right attitude.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of David Wineberg. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.