Neal Freeland

Engineering/marketing manager, family guy. My personal blog with a few work thoughts mixed in.

World Class

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What makes an institution world class? US News and World Report ranks the Cleveland Clinic #1 for heart surgery, and our excellent doctors in Seattle strongly recommended coming here, as did everyone we met who had been through this institution as a patient or parent. In the waiting room during Amelia’s surgery we met people from all over: a salt-of-the-earth couple that raises Tennesee walking horses in Greenwood, Mississippi; a Venezuelan power-couple who work for global conglomerates in Colombia in order to escape the crazy dictator-cum-populist Hugo Chavez; and a traditional Saudi couple with the tough-guy husband dressed in black jeans, watch cap, and leather jacket and the wife in full black burka, both with wet, red eyes.
So reputation is important, and causes people from all over the world to board planes to travel here, but what drives reputation? Results. The Clinic’s success rates are substantially higher than other institutions. Children are more likely to immediately survive surgery, have longer lifespans after, and enjoy better quality of life than almost anywhere else in the world.
But how are these results achieved? People. I noticed it immediately: the people here know their stuff. There’s something in the atmosphere that reminds me of other top institutions that I have been a part of: Stanford, Kellogg, the Navy, and Microsoft. At times the experience has been chaotic and confusing, with such a stream of people passing by Amelia’s bed that I feel like I’m on the medical equivalent of an assembly line. I’ve had conversations with doctors who clearly have one eye on the clock and half their brain thinking about the 10 other things they have to do that day. They’re also not perfect: in the intensive care unit Julia noticed a nurse rigging up a medicine labeled "Francesca" (which was identical to Amelia’s, and the nurse just swapped the labels).
Still, as anyone knows who’s tried, perfection is a goal that cannot be achieved but can only be approached through constant striving. The Clinic attracts these strivers and gets the best in the world: our surgeon was from New Zealand, our anesthesiologist from Japan, our cardiologist from Brazil, the electrophysiologist from Seattle, and the intensive care doctor from Boston. By bringing these two groups together – parents seeking the best care for their children, and medical professionals seeking to provide the best care possible – the Clinic achieves that which few other insitutions have done: world class care.

Written by nealfreeland

October 24, 2005 at 12:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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