In describing the Cleveland Clinic model to a large group of physician practice managers, CEO Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, M.D., highlighted what he called the clinic's four “cornerstones,” which mirrored some of the major themes discussed at the Medical Group Management Association's four-day annual meeting in Denver: quality, innovation, teamwork and service.
Cosgrove stressed the importance of innovation at the system that began in 1921 and today includes a main campus, nine hospitals, 17 family health centers, and a presence in three countries. The clinic values innovation so highly, Cosgrove said, that it awards a $50,000 prize each year to the individual who develops the best innovation. It also looks to other countries for ideas, as it sends about 2,000 physicians across the globe to learn from other leaders in the medical community.
“We don't think for a second that we have a lock on knowledge,” said Cosgrove, a heart surgeon who was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and later joined the Cleveland Clinic in 1975.
He also discussed the value of electronic medical records, which Cosgrove described as an expensive, time-consuming endeavor—the system has EMRs for some 5 million patients—that he expects will drive quality, but will likely not help the system achieve savings for another 10 years.