An interview with Dana Kassissieh, Senior Director, Administrative Affairs & Patient Experience, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Written by: Fleming. Team

Dana Kassissieh
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
Senior Director, Administrative Affairs & Patient Experience


1) 'Patients First' remains the guiding principle for the Cleveland Clinic's ‘patient experience strategy'. How has the clinic achieved this goal and set precedence for others in the healthcare sphere?

Our main campus, Cleveland Clinic Ohio, was the first major academic medical center to make patient experience a strategic goal, appoint a Chief Experience Officer, and one of the first to establish an Office of Patient Experience.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, as an expansion of the Cleveland Clinic model of care in the Middle East, employs that same dedication to the patient experience in all aspects of the care we provide from the moment patients arrive to the moment they leave. Reinforcing its central role, the Office of Patient Experience reports directly to the CEO. Our key patient experience goals are part of the organization’s balanced scorecard, and are discussed regularly at our internal leadership meetings and by the Board.


2) There is a direct correlation with quality of care to cost. How can healthcare providers overcome the challenge of ensuring service excellence without additional cost to the customer?

Higher quality healthcare often results in lower overall costs due to the associated reduction in complications and readmissions. As a result, the association between quality and cost is inconsistent as a higher upfront cost can often mean a lower overall cost over the patient’s lifetime. Delivering the right care at the right time is the most cost-effective means of treating a patient. In many cases, eliminating waste can reduce healthcare costs without impacting quality as, in many organizations, waste represents a significant portion of the overall cost of care. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi tackles this through its adoption of continuous improvement methods.


3) Whilst accreditation is an essential guideline for organizations, what according to you, are the hindrances, if any, with this possess?

Accreditation focuses on setting standards and evaluating adherence to these standards in an effort to ensure the highest quality of care. While being a vital part of ensuring a healthcare organization is delivering quality care consistently, the emphasis on documentation that ensues can reduce an organization’s agility or ability to react to changes in the local healthcare environment and patient expectations, as well as increase the burden on the medical staff to both deliver a service and document it.


4) Cleveland clinic has embraced the role of technology for enhanced customer experience. What are the new technological trends you are excited about that will redefine the face of patient excellence?

We are currently building a portal that enables patients to access their health records and test results directly, improving the flow of information between patients and their care teams. It will also allow them to schedule appointments and communicate with their healthcare teams directly in a fast and user-friendly way. One of the principal challenges in healthcare is facilitating communication between providers and patients and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is excited about tackling this industry-wide concern.


5) What is your patient experience plan in 2017-18?

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s next steps in terms of further building on our unrivalled patient experience, include the roll-out of a Patient Experience Standards program that will allow for a consistent adoption and implementation of patient-centric practices across the organization.

We will also complete and deploy the first healthcare-specific patient experience training program in the UAE – Tawasol - to share the best practices we have developed as part of our role in pioneering a more sustainable healthcare sector in the country. Another of our main focuses will be co-ordinating our patient care efforts across the hospital and on delivering a seamless experience across the various touchpoints at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.