On Call for Your Health
When it comes to a sophisticated clinical organization marked by expert opinions and world-renowned specialists, one name stands out above the rest – Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit, multidisciplinary academic medical center focused on the integration of clinical and hospital care with research and education, and remains one of the largest and most respected hospitals in the country.
“This institution has evolved over decades into a highly sophisticated quaternary medical institution capable of providing care for patients in every area,” said Jeffrey Ponsky, MD, the Medical Director of the new Access Plus Program at the Clinic. “Quite simply, every member of the Cleveland Clinic medical team is at the top of their game.”
Cleveland Clinic boasts numerous accolades to affirm such expertise. Out of nearly 5,000 hospitals in the country, Cleveland Clinic once again ranks in the top five according to U.S. News & World Report’s “2015-2016 Best Hospitals.” Cleveland Clinic has also been recognized as the top hospital in heart care for the 21st consecutive year. And four other specialties are ranked at #2: gastroenterology & GI surgery, nephrology, rheumatology and urology.
The Clinic also boasts a well known and highly-respected Executive Health Program – one designed for the busy professional and backed by the best in medicine. Dr. Ponsky and the Access Plus team are working to build a program that bolsters the onsite Executive Health Program expertise with unparalleled access to the medical team.
EXECUTIVE HEALTH PROGRAM
The Executive Health Program at Cleveland Clinic has transformed the traditional executive physical from a data gathering exam into a fully integrated, head-to toe evaluation by some of the top medical staff in the world. This program is geared to discover potential health problems, target, reduce and eliminate medical risk factors and promote wellness, and is a perfect scenario for the busy, often high-stress world of the corporate executive.
“Busyness in our schedules is a concern now more than ever. With all of the communication devices we carry, we are never away from the job,” said Richard Lang, MD, MPH, FACP, Chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Executive Health Program. That is why the program at Cleveland Clinic is designed to bring the patient the most comprehensive, streamlined Executive Health physical examination available, usually in only six to eight hours of time.
“The thing about our Executive Health offerings is the team in charge is really very good at it,” Ponsky said. “It is a well scheduled, well organized, well understood process focused on moving the patient from test to exam to physician quickly. We understand the value of your time, and design the experience to maximize efficiency.”
Executive Health Physical examinations are tailored to meet the needs of the individual executive. The Executive Health Program onsite visit is made to not only discover potential health problems, but also to promote the continuation – or start of – a healthy lifestyle. Exams and testing included in the exam help define possible medical risk factors, while consultations with the Executive Health Program medical team help the patient develop an action plan and personal roadmap to better health and wellness. Specialty consultations are also available if needed, and those participating in the Executive Health Program have priority access to hundreds of Cleveland Clinic medical and surgical experts, many of them top-ranked in the world.
“Executives must remember they are their most important customer,” noted Lang. “They need to look at themselves as role models for their companies. The population working under them looks to them to see what they are doing – taking a proactive approach to health and wellness sets a great example for others.” The Executive Health Program helps remind those executives constantly on-the-go and in demand that to function at their highest level – in all areas of their life – they need optimal health. This Cleveland Clinic program brings in corporate leaders from across the nation – more than 200 companies send their top leaders to Cleveland Clinic for Executive Health Physical examinations each year.
“We are able to get these executives in touch with the right people for every health concern,” continued Ponsky. “We can tell them when they need to slow down, and what things are more serious and needing of attention than others. These are smart people, and they appreciate dedicated attention and expertise in navigating the healthcare landscape.”
INTRODUCING ACCESS PLUS
The newly created Access Plus program at Cleveland Clinic is a natural outgrowth of the organization’s commitment to excellent clinical care, and of Access Plus Medical Director Ponky’s desire to bring back a sense of connection in the world of medicine. “With the sophistication of our enterprise comes superior medical record keeping, communication and care of the patient,” noted Ponsky. “This program that we are developing is an outgrowth of that same sophistication It recognizes that in this busy world, it can sometimes feel difficult to access the experts in the areas you need. We want to bridge that gap.”
Cleveland Clinic Access Plus provides the patient and their family with exclusive, individualized support to create a world-class healthcare experience and – as the name suggests – access when they need it. The idea is one Ponsky is passionate about. “I’m old school,” he noted with a laugh. “I’ve been in medicine since I was 16 and an orderly on a hospital floor. I have a deep familiarity with delivery of healthcare, and with the relationships therein – the relationship between patient and provider, and even the relationships among providers.”
Now a practicing surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, Ponksy has seen a lot of changes in healthcare since his time as an orderly. “Doctors in the past would see each other often, communicate about patients, and spend quality time face-toface,” he said. Many of the hallmarks of modern medicine, like sweeping advances in technology and pharmaceuticals, have driven the field forward. But with such fast-paced change and the growth of healthcare into huge systems and record repositories, there can be, as Ponksy reflected, “an alienation of people from people … oftentimes it seems hard to connect.”
What Ponsky wishes to see for healthcare is reflected in the mission of the Access Plus Program. Quite simply, it’s the idea to bring back “people-to-people.”
One might wonder why an experienced surgeon would take on a program focused on directly connecting with patients on demand. Even though he is wired to successfully perform delicate and precise procedures, a few words with Ponsky reveal his highly-personable nature. “My wife’s family is as big as telephone book,” he joked. “My phone always ringing. There is always someone with a problem or a concern, and they want to know what to do, who to see, what comes next.”
Access Plus aims to foster the feeling of connectedness often missing in healthcare by providing a direct connection to Ponsky. “People have questions. People have concerns. People want to connect. I’ve seen it with my own family.” Those who contact Ponsky through Access Plus have access to an expert on call – someone familiar with the ins and outs of the healthcare system, and able to help make any needed connections within that system quickly. “By calling me, I can give reassurance, I can provide investigation, I can offer direction. I can get the ball rolling, so to speak.” For example, a patient with a nagging orthopedic issue could trust Ponsky to find the right specialist among a sprawling, complex network of over 10 sub-specialties in the orthopedic field.
Even with the launch of Access Plus, Ponsky notes “the patients still don’t call me as much as my family and friends.” He finds these conversations bring him great professional and personal satisfaction. “What I do all day long through Access Plus – hearing patients happy and relieved that they have someone to talk to, that they can trust – is incredibly satisfying. Everything is different now in medicine – ideas have changed, procedures have changed – but what should remain central is to let the patient talk, and to listen to that patient. I am happy to be that person to listen, and then help them in the next steps of their healthcare journey. ”
Cleveland Clinic Statement of Values
Cleveland Clinic was established by visionary leaders who believed in simple, guiding principles. Six fundamental values form the foundation of the Cleveland Clinic’s culture.
We maintain the highest standards and achieve them by continually measuring and improving our outcomes.
We welcome chnage, encourage invention and continually seek better, more efficient ways to achieve our goals.
We collaborate and share knowledge to benefit patients and fellow caregivers for the advancement of our mission.
We adhere to high moral principles and professional standards by a commitment to honesty, confidentiality, trust, respect and transparency.
We strive to exceed our patients’ and/or fellow caregivers’ expectations for comfort and convenience.
We demonstrate our commitment to world-class care by providing a caring and supportive environment for our patients, patients’ families and fellow caregivers.