Cleveland Clinic marks first anniversary of its regional health system in Florida

Increased number of lives touched, early performance indicators point to a successful year

Feb. 5, 2020 – Cleveland Clinic recently marked the one-year anniversary of Indian River Medical Center and Martin Health System becoming full members of the Cleveland Clinic health system and the establishment of a five-hospital regional system serving southeast Florida.

According to Cleveland Clinic Florida CEO and president Wael Barsoum, MD, the first year of the multi-year integration process focused on understanding the needs of the patients, caregivers and communities served by the new regional health system, establishing integration priorities, and launching a number of early quality initiatives.

“We laid a strong foundation in our first year together, built on our ‘patients first’ philosophy with a mutual respect for the work we do, and a desire to share best practices and learn from one another,” said Dr. Barsoum. “By combining our clinical expertise and resources, we are providing high-quality care, improving outcomes, and increasing efficiencies.”

“We want to be the best place to work and provide care, and when patients choose to come to Cleveland Clinic, be it at Indian River, Martin Health or Weston, I know we are succeeding,” added Dr. Barsoum.

While patient safety, satisfaction and outcomes data for 2019 will take several months to be compiled and reported by healthcare industry monitors, preliminary indicators show early progress achieved through clinical and operational alignment within the regional system.

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• Implementation of Cleveland Clinic’s tiered huddle process increased operational transparency for caregivers and provided an avenue for rapid improvements at all Florida hospitals. In one location an opportunity was identified for enhanced collaboration with Indian River Hospital’s Behavioral Health Center to more efficiently provide care for Baker Act patients.

• A two-step process used by Cleveland Clinic for testing Clostridium difficile, a highly contagious bacterial infection, was implemented across the region’s five hospitals. As a result, C. diff infection rates, a national benchmark for hospital patient safety, dropped notably – for example, Martin Health saw an 83% reduction in C. diff rates over the past six months.

• Quality initiatives across the region resulted in a 53% reduction over the last six months in central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI), another national benchmark for hospital patient safety. And in spring 2019, the Florida region developed a maternal morbidity task force that has already seen reductions in the number of blood transfusions provided to mothers during labor and delivery.

• “Plan of care visits,” a patient experience initiative, was rolled out region-wide over the summer. It entails clinical team members rounding together to create and communicate the plan of care with each patient in an effort to improve safety, quality, and experience outcomes. Subsequent patient satisfaction ratings for Treasure Coast hospitals showed increases related to communications with physicians, nursing and overall teamwork.

• In April 2019, Martin County had four Hepatitis A-related deaths and was identified as a high-risk community. Cleveland Clinic Martin Health worked with regional and enterprise pharmacy teams, in a rapid response, to make thousands of vaccines available to both residents and caregivers. As a result, 3,103 caregivers, 1,466 pediatric patients, and 336 adult patients were vaccinated.

• The community continues to seek the high-quality care available at Cleveland Clinic. Admissions at the health system’s five Florida hospitals were up 7.9 percent last year over 2018, and visits at the outpatient clinics located from Broward to Indian River counties increased 7.5 percent during the same period.

“I think the most dramatic illustration of what our integration has achieved is the case of 47-year-old Indian River County resident Paige Jerome,” said Gregory Rosencrance, MD, President of Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital. “Paige came to our hospital thinking she needed an antibiotic to treat a ‘touch of bronchitis,’ but instead was diagnosed with giant cell myocarditis, a rare heart condition.”

Within a week, Jerome was at Cleveland Clinic Weston Hospital undergoing a heart transplant, Rosencrance noted. “The teamwork between our physicians in Weston and Indian River in diagnosing and treating this life-threatening condition demonstrates how the collective expertise of our physicians in the region benefit the communities we serve.”

Cleveland Clinic Martin Health president Robert L. Lord Jr., points to the new Cleveland Clinic Florida Research and Innovation Center in Port St. Lucie, as another example of how integration is having a positive impact on the Treasure Coast. In November 2019, Cleveland Clinic took occupancy of the former Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute facility across from Cleveland Clinic Tradition Hospital, which will house the new research institute.

“Backed by nearly 100 years of research experience in Ohio, this state-of-the-art facility will propel medical research in the region and act as an economic engine for our surrounding communities,” Lord said.

About the Cleveland Clinic Florida region
The Cleveland Clinic Florida region is a nonprofit, multi-specialty healthcare provider that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. The Florida region now includes Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Martin Health, and Cleveland Clinic Weston Hospital, with five total hospitals and numerous outpatient centers in Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties. The Florida region is an integral part of Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where providing outstanding patient care is based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Physicians at Cleveland Clinic are experts in the treatment of complex conditions that are difficult to diagnose. For more information about Cleveland Clinic Florida, visit Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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