President of highly-ranked Cleveland Clinic Weston on the mission-reputation connection

Cleveland Clinic Weston (Fla.) Hospital was recently listed among the world's best specialized and smart hospitals by Newsweek. According to Weston's president, Rodolfo Blandon, MD, focus, empathy and collaboration are key contributors to the hospital's top marks. 

Dr. Blandon has served Cleveland Clinic Florida for more than 21 years and has been Weston's president since January 2019. Becker's connected with Dr. Blandon to discuss the strategy that led the hospital to international acclaim. 


A laser-focused mission

According to Dr. Blandon, Cleveland Clinic Weston remains "laser-focused" on three priorities: quality, safety and patient experience. The hospital uses multiple metrics to gauge success in each area. Quality is assessed by the hospital's acquired infection, readmission and mortality rates. Safety is tracked by the rate of serious safety events and by using patient safety indicators. Patient experience is measured by a combination of patient ratings and physician and nurse communication. 

The hospital also prioritizes patient experience by providing caregivers with an empathy-forward  training course, the Cleveland Clinic enterprise's Communicate with H.E.A.R.T

"We always train [our caregivers] to deliver the best patient experience in an empathetic way," Dr. Blandon told Becker's. "We always understand that when patients come to the hospital, these are very stressful and vulnerable times, and our caregivers care significantly for them and treat them like family."


A range of specialties

Newsweek recognized Cleveland Clinic Weston Hospital for cardiology, cardiac surgery, endocrinology, gastroenterology and urology. 

Dr. Blandon concurred the hospital's Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute is well known, particularly for cardiothoracic surgery, including robotic valvular and lung surgeries — and its Digestive Disease Institute has been ranked as a top 50 GI and GI surgery program by U.S. News and World Report for seven years in a row. 

Dr. Blandon also nodded to the hospital's cancer, neurosurgery and orthopedic programs, as well as its Transplant Institute, which provides heart, liver and kidney transplants. 

"The teams we have at our institutes are specialized even within their own departments, so we can address the rarest or [most] complex medical conditions," he said. 


Cross-clinic collaboration 

"We take care of each other like family," Dr. Blandon said of the Cleveland Clinic enterprise. 

He stressed the importance of working as a team across the 72,500-employee system to innovate and provide top-quality care. 

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, caregivers volunteered to travel to work in areas of greater need," Dr. Blandon said. 

He also said Cleveland Clinic's competitive salaries and benefits, coupled with a positive company culture, empower its employees toward engagement.


Looking ahead 

When asked about the year ahead, Dr. Blandon said the hospital will open a new floor in its new hospital tower, adding 30 total beds to its intensive care and intermediate care units. 

Additionally, Cleveland Clinic Weston plans to hire more physicians to improve access in the South Florida region.

"Our goal always remains to have the best safety, quality and patient experience metrics," Dr. Blandon said. 

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