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Best Global Brands: Cleveland Clinic

"The Cleveland Clinic brand is inseparable from its lifesaving mission."

Paul Matsen, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Cleveland Clinic

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Cleveland Clinic as one of the top four hospitals in the United States-and number one in heart care for the past 20 years. In addition to top-notch medical programs, what role do you think the brand plays in Cleveland Clinic’s enduring success?

The brand plays a critical role in the success of Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic is a destination medical center, drawing patients from more than 100 countries and all 50 states. There is no more difficult decision to make then deciding to travel for healthcare, particularly when someone is facing a very complex medical issue. The Cleveland Clinic brand is recognized and trusted around the world as an organization that provides clinical excellence, an outstanding patient experience, and valuable medical information for patients and physicians. Many patients’ first encounter with us is when they or a loved one are diagnosed with a medical condition and are searching for helpful information online. Patients and families know they can trust our brand to provide helpful information and patient care.

On Cleveland Clinic’s website, “My” is invoked often. Patients can set up and access “MyAccount,” “MyChart,” and so forth. How has making your online services so personal created closer relationships with patients? How do you think this is enhancing wellness-and improving the way consumers perceive Cleveland Clinic?

There is nothing more personal than healthcare. Providing state-of-the-art tools to help patients manage their health is a vital part of Cleveland Clinic care and the patient experience. At the same time, our CEO, Dr. Toby Cosgrove, has stated that our goal is to move from “sick care to wellness.” Cleveland Clinic has been an innovator and leader in wellness from promoting healthy eating and exercise to being one of the first healthcare systems to not hire smokers. Wellness is a key part of our mission and it has become a key part of our brand.

Consumers now use digital and social media to access healthcare advice and information. How do you use social media to engage and educate? How are mobile apps making life easier and healthier for the people Cleveland Clinic serves?

Marketing and communications play a key role in promoting wellness. We have created a highly innovative social media strategy focused around our Health Hub blog. All of our social media sites provide daily information on a broad range of wellness topics from Cleveland Clinic experts. If people want to learn more, they can connect directly to our Health Hub for more in-depth information or to engage in dialogue. Health Hub reaches more than 2.5 million people a month and plays a key role in building awareness and positive perceptions of the Cleveland Clinic brand.

Today, more than 63 percent of the traffic to our website comes from mobile devices, and adapting rapidly to mobile has been critical to our success. We recently launched a comprehensive consumer app called Today that provides virtually all of the tools that consumers need to access Cleveland Clinic. At the same time, we have a broad range of specialty apps ranging from a referring physician app to one that helps manage concussions. The next frontier is telemedicine delivered through mobiles apps and devices.

What challenges are hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic facing as they try to leverage the value of big data? And how is your hospital using data to personalize medicine, promote efficiency, and customize patient care?

Cleveland Clinic has the advantage of being one of the first major institutions to adopt the electronic patient record. Our doctors have gathered millions of data points on diagnosis, treatment, and demographics. We’ve developed proprietary software and spun off a company that is enabling researchers to access healthcare data from across any number of hospitals and health systems–lightning fast and at no risk to patients’ privacy. This is a priceless contribution to scientific knowledge, and researchers from around the world are using it to discover patterns of disease and what treatments really work best.

Out data culture extends from the operating room to the storeroom. Every piece of material in our facilities is bar coded. Costs are accounted for. We’ve put doctors, nurses, administrators, and supply chain people together in the same room to analyze surgical supplies step-by-step and figure out how to purchase smarter, safer, and more efficiently. We’ve cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of our purchasing costs this way.

Our Genomic Medicine Institute and Center for Personalized Healthcare have launched ambitious initiatives to harness the power of genetics and family history to mount aggressive early interventions against deadly diseases that pass from generation to generation. Genetic counselors work as a team with specialists in cancer and other areas to customize drug treatments to the patient’s genetic profile wherever possible. We’re tailoring care to each patient’s physical, emotional, and social needs.

From robotics to 3-D printing, technological advancements are rapidly changing the face of healthcare. What major investments is Cleveland Clinic making in light of the future? How is Cleveland Clinic innovating to meet changing needs, pressures, and preferences in healthcare?

Our surgeons performed the world’s first liver transplant using a 3-D model of the patient’s liver, including the blood vessels. We’ve invested heavily in regional healthcare delivery sites and sophisticated patient transport to make sure that every patient gets the right care, at the right place, at the right time. Any patient who calls before noon is offered a same-day appointment. We booked more than one million same-day appointments last year.

Most importantly, we’ve completely overhauled our culture and facilities to reflect an intense commitment to the patient experience. Our brand includes the fact that every one of our employees is called a caregiver, because we understand that everyone who works at Cleveland Clinic in any capacity plays a role in patient care. We have trained all 43,000 of our caregivers in courtesy, compassion, and listening skills. We redesigned the patient gown to preserve patient dignity, and designed facilities with abundant space, light, and artwork.

As a nonprofit group practice where all physicians receive a salary and all caregivers are aligned around the same incentives, Cleveland Clinic and its brand must stand for quality and integrity. We were the first major medical center to report all physicians’ industry relationships online, and we have been a leader in the annual publication of our medical outcomes.

The Cleveland Clinic brand is inseparable from its lifesaving mission. Our name and symbol represent medical care at the highest level, a continual drive for innovation, ease of access, efficiency of operations, and a culture of empathy. Our goal is to give every patient the best outcome and experience.

About Paul Matsen

Paul Matsen joined Cleveland Clinic in 2006. He is responsible for all marketing and communications programs at Cleveland Clinic including global development of the brand; marketing of key clinical lines of service, regional and international locations and digital marketing. Mr. Matsen also leads Cleveland Clinic’s Corporate Communications department.

During Mr. Matsen’s tenure, the Cleveland Clinic has grown to be one of the most recognized and respected healthcare brands in the world. Under his leadership, Cleveland Clinic has been an innovator in digital and content marketing including the industry-leading website, social media, mobile apps and search engine marketing programs. Recently, the Clinic launched the ground breaking Health Hub which provides daily health and wellness information from Cleveland Clinic experts.

Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic, Mr. Matsen was most recently the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Delta Airlines. He began his career in New York, working at a number of leading advertising agencies Including Grey and Young & Rubicam. He is a graduate of Rutgers University, N.J.

Paul is an active member of the Cleveland Community and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Greater Cleveland, Positively Cleveland, and Hathaway Brown School.


Director of Marketing, InterbrandHealth