HL20: James Merlino, MD—A Passion for Patient Experience

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , December 13, 2013

The other component of patient experience Merlino emphasizes is empathy and compassion for the caregivers, not just the patients. That idea is expressed in an emotional four-minute video Cleveland Clinic produced for its 2012 State of the Clinic Address. With only background music playing, patients, doctors, nurses, and family members are shown moving throughout a hospital setting with just a few words describing them and their situation.

For example, the words, "He has been dreading this appointment. Fears he waited too long," appear next to an elderly man in wheelchair. In another scene, a physician leans against an elevator wall with the words, "Recently Divorced." The video is effective at illustrating the humanity that can get lost between caregivers and patients. It's been downloaded nearly a million times.

"It just reminds me of why this is important," says Merlino. "You have to pay attention to little things because at the end of the day, they're human beings. They come to us at their most vulnerable, terrifying time in their life. We need to deliver care in a much more compassionate way."

Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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