Insights from Toby Cosgrove on Delivering High-Value Care

12/14/2018
Toby Cosgrove, MD, Executive Advisor and former CEO and President of the Cleveland Clinic, provides insights into the Cleveland Clinic‘s approach to high-value care and the future of health delivery.

Toby Cosgrove, MD, discusses the question of what quality in healthcare means and provides insights into the transformation of the Cleveland Clinic to become a modern, patient-centric health institution. But what else does the future of healthcare hold?


The Cleveland Clinic underwent a remarkable transformation into a modern, patient-centric institution with new approaches to the achievement of high-value care. A cultural shift in the institution led to the care delivery group taking on a new responsibility as care givers.

“I spent all my time in the operating room and my concentration and my thinking, and now patients survived and they expected not to do anything else but survive, and they wanted a relationship with you. And so I’m thinking, I became a technician and not a physician. And so I had to go back and say, okay, now we’ve got to do something different. And so […] first off all, we started to think about what’s quality in healthcare? “


The steps taken to establish a new care culture at the Cleveland Clinic were made with the help of a shared vision that emphasized the “patient first” motto. Useful ways of motivating the care delivery group were the increased transparency of data collected on patient satisfaction and the newly introduced ranking systems.

“When I started, most people thought, it’s gonna be the flavor of the day. We just ignore him a little and until it will go away.“


To further improve the patient experience, the Cleveland Clinic introduced a new concept of division of tasks between the central campus and the community center. This decentralization of tasks not only resulted in higher patient satisfaction, but also a higher satisfaction rate among the physicians themselves.

“So, we have a system now that has a central hospital, which is very high-tech, community hospitals, outpatient facilities and obviously a big push in virtual visits.”


The increasing quantity of data in healthcare presents both problems and opportunities. One of those opportunities is the possibility of discovering new things. The management of the vast amounts of data produced in healthcare opens up possibilities for the involvement of companies such as Google to help the system provide more efficient healthcare delivery.

“I think that right now, let me just give you a few pieces of data, that the amount of data that is being developed right now in healthcare is amazing. By 2020 the top amount of knowledge in healthcare is going to double every 73 days.”