In downtrodden East Cleveland, a three-story family health center has replaced the city's full-service hospital. Seven thousand miles away in Abu Dhabi, a gleaming 24-story hospital is preparing to admit patients this year.
Back in Ohio, shoppers at Marc's, a local discount grocer and pharmacy in Garfield Heights, can enter a kiosk equipped with a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff and a two-way video screen that lets a patient talk directly to a doctor.
These disparate ventures bear the imprimatur of the renowned Cleveland Clinic, one of the most respected nonprofit health systems in the nation, as it tries to manage the extraordinary changes now transforming health care.
While it has traditionally relied on its ability to provide high-priced specialty care, the system, along with every stand-alone community hospital and large academic medical center, is being forced to remake itself. Patients are increasingly seeking care outside the hospital — in a family health center, a doctor's office, a drugstore or at home. Medicare and other insurers are moving away from volume-based payments to new models, to pay less for better care.
Dr. Delos M. Cosgrove, a 74-year-old former heart surgeon who took over as chief executive about a decade ago, likens what is happening in health care to the upheaval decades ago in the steel industry, where companies disappeared when they were unable to respond to change and new competition. "The disruption is going to happen," he said. As an inevitable shakeout takes place among health care institutions, a look at how the clinic is responding underscores the industry's challenges and the flurry of activity taking place as institutions try to adapt.