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10 Lessons Rochester Can Learn from Cleveland

CLEVELAND — Rochester's not as big or metropolitan as Cleveland, but it can learn from Cleveland as it seeks to create a destination medical center surrounding the Mayo Clinic. Here are ten of them:

1. Create an atmosphere that helps people forget they're in a hospital. Recently Teresa Mahoney and her aunt to advantage of complimentary rooftop massages offered atop the Cleveland Clinic cardiovascular center. It's a peaceful, glassed area that overlooks the Cleveland skyline."They also have service dogs that come around so that you can pet them for calming purposes," Mahoney said.

2. Focus on specialties. With all the changes in health care, what will be needed is "specialized hospitals," said Dr. Imad Najm, director of the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Center, which admitsonly patients with epilepsy. Every staff member who works on the the Epilepsy Center floor, whether a pharmacist, nurse or secretary, works only on that floor and has an understanding of the needs of patients with epilepsy.

3. Openly share data about outcomes. To back up its claims of superior medicine, Cleveland Clinic started gathering patient outcomes data, at the behest of CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove, in 2006 and makes that data public.

4. Innovate, innovate, innovate. "Any leading health-care institution would not be leading in 10 years if they stop innovating," Najm said.

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5. Offer rapid appointments and quick response to prospective patients."If a patient calls today — they would like an evaluation today — we can get them in," Najm said. It's built into the system well enough that health providers can tell patient the specific date a procedure can be done.

6. Go the extra mile to transport patients to the clinic. One of the clinic's philosophies is "no patient too sick/no patient too far."Cleveland Clinic has literally rescued patients from hospitals, using fixed-wing planes, helicopters or ambulances.

7. Get personal and provide the little extras to draw patients.Dr. Eric Klein, chair of the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, said that recently a patient lamented he would be stuck for the weekend in Cleveland, unable to get around and with nothing to do. Klein said a team of health providers stuck around and performed the man's procedure late on a Friday afternoon."That's the kind of stuff we do to make it a good experience," he said.

8. When trying to attract bright young professionals, don't forget the music. Just a week ago in Cleveland, the House of Blues hosted a local acoustic guitarist in its restaurant, along with rock, R&B and reggae in its basement music venue that included the bands Hot Rain , J-Boog and Rebelution .So many young people got in line for tickets before the show began that House of Blues staff had to work the line selling tickets to speed the process.

9. Make it easy for visitors to find their way. There are no easy-to-read signs to help people get around Cleveland, and visitors often take shuttles when they could walk.

10. Serve the poor and remember minorities.Ladell Thompson, 27, of Cleveland, said Cleveland Clinic needs to expand its services forpeople who struggle financially and minority populations. In the past few years, he said, although it's improving.He works at a restaurant earning $7.85 an hour but can not afford care at Cleveland Clinic. He sprained an ankle and says he was charged $1,300. Needing crutches, he couldn't afford the $200 he said the clinic wanted.

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