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One Question Inspired an International Movement toward More Empathetic Care

Former Cleveland Clinic Chief Executive Officer, Toby Cosgrove, MD, was front and center on the 2019 Patient Experience Summit stage, getting ready to recap the decade-old story that was the impetus for the Cleveland Clinic-led, global patient experience movement.

Flashback to Dr. Toby Cosgrove speaking at Harvard's business school in 2005: MBA student, Kara Medoff Barnett, told Dr. Cosgrove how her father, a physician in North Carolina, had opted for Mayo Clinic instead of Cleveland Clinic for his heart valve repair. While Cleveland Clinic's outcomes for the procedure was the best, said Barnett, he chose Mayo Clinic instead because its reputation for empathetic care was far greater. She told Cosgrove, “Cleveland Clinic was known for a lack of empathy toward patients. Dr. Cosgrove."

She went on to ask, "Do you teach empathy, Dr. Cosgrove?"

You can hear the story told by Dr. Cosgrove in the video compilation below.

Flash-forward to the Patient Experience Summit stage in 2019: Cosgrove was preparing to retell the transformative experience when Adrienne Boissy, MD, MA invited to the stage an unexpected guest, Kara Medoff Barnett.


Design and bravely explore what “Experience Reimagined” can really be.

This year's Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit offers unparalleled opportunities to connect with visionaries and peers. Join us to push the conversation on metrics, alignment with high reliability and digital disruption. Together we can transform the care experience.




Healthcare leaders at the forefront of the global patient experience movement will address which systems, tools and insights revolutionize the role of the patient and the caregiver. We’ll explore patient perspectives and clinical considerations to understand how empathy and innovation must be incorporated as integral pillars to deliver the best clinical, physical and emotional experience in healthcare.


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