Renowned U.S. medical center upbeat about opportunities in China

Feature: Renowned U.S. medical center upbeat about opportunities in China

CHICAGO (Rahnuma): Anthony Yen, 86, had a heart operation at the Cleveland Clinic in 1988. Thirty years later, he remains healthy and energetic, and has become friends with his doctors at the clinic.

Covering 170 acres of land in downtown Cleveland, the U.S. state of Ohio, the clinic is one of the top medical centers in the country. Particularly famous for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, it recorded 7.6 million patient visits in 2017.

The world famous medical center made a big move in July. It teamed up with a medical group to bring its best healthcare practices to China’s Shanghai New Hong Qiao International Medical Center.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities in China,” Tomislav Mihaljevic, president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, told Xinhua. “I know that the number of Chinese visitors as well as the number of Chinese patients (to the clinic) has been steadily climbing.”


Mihaljevic made no secret of being proud of the clinic. “We were the second largest employer in the state of Ohio. We are the largest employer in our city of Cleveland.”

The clinic now serves more than 7 million visits a year, and patients come from not only the United States but from all over the world. Most of them seek care there because they need sophisticated, modern interventions due to very complex conditions.

Mihaljevic attributed reputation of Cleveland Clinic to the excellence of its care and research output, a joint effort of its 53,000 employees, including over 3,600 physicians and scientists.

Being a non-profit organization, the clinic realized an operating revenue of 8.4 billion U.S. dollars and an operating income of 330 million dollars in 2017, thanks to its patient-first culture.

“We did not have shareholders. Every surplus we have, we reinvested into the organization for the betterment of patient care,” Mihaljevic said. “Our primary mission here is to take care of our patients and to serve as many patients as possible.”

Cleveland Clinic is also renowned for its medical research in a diversity of areas, especially in the cardiovascular area.

“We probably produce more knowledge than any other healthcare organization or an academic institution in the world when it comes to research for cardiovascular disease,” said Mihaljevic.

Investing about a quarter of a billion dollars into research a year, the clinic also excels in urology, cancer care, orthopedics, rheumatology management of gastrointestinal diseases.

“We also have a very active, a research residency in cancer genomics, inflammation and brain disease,” Mihaljevic added.


The cooperation with a Chinese medical group marks Cleveland Clinic’s first foray into China. Patients in Shanghai now have access to healthcare materials prepared by experts at Cleveland Clinic on conditions and various treatment options, and can connect with Cleveland Clinic specialists to obtain opinions through distance health technologies.

“China continues to exceed in many areas. We have seen over the last 15 to 20 years a very strong increase in the number of high quality publications coming from China,” said Mihaljevic, who has visited China several times. Being a heart surgeon, he used to do heart surgeries in Beijing.

“And I don’t think I could isolate any particular area where China, Chinese medicine has excelled. To the best of my knowledge there, the Chinese academia in medicine has excelled across the board.”

Mihaljevic believes that forging partnership with China, the clinic will be able to share some of its learning, new technologies, and ways it takes care of patients for the benefit of Chinese people.

“We see and believe that the Chinese health care market will continue to grow with an aging population, and there is a greater need for healthcare services,” he said.

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