Clinical Integration

A Message from Dr. Cindy Zelis

Dr. Cindy Zelis talks about the importance of the new role of Clinical Integration in patient care. She describes her leadership responsibilities as Vice President of Clinical Integration and her goal is to bring this concept to fruition for the growing UH health system and as a practicing physician.

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”Synergy” can be described in many different ways, and perhaps the most straightforward definition includes the adage that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” As Vice President of Clinical Integration at University Hospitals, my goal is to bring this concept to fruition for the UH system. As we transform to a more integrated culture through facilitating projects, tools and relationships, we can operate as a unified, efficient health care provider for Northeast Ohio. When we are clinically integrated, everyone wins, both you as UH physicians and your patients. Our goal is improved patient experience, higher quality and lower costs for our patients and our health care system.

In the last year or so, we’ve identified key factors inhibiting true clinical integration at UH and have taken concrete steps to address them. To facilitate referrals and improve awareness among UH physicians of the considerable clinical expertise available within our system, we’ve developed and launched the UH Physician Directory smartphone app. The app allows you to look up physicians by name and specialty; it also has tabs for UH Urgent Care locations, phone contact numbers for direct admission to UH hospitals (by site), regional emergency departments and hospital transfers. The mobile Physician Directory app will continue to evolve with physician and department input to serve as tool to support your practice and patients.

Several UH departments have undertaken efforts to improve patient access. In Neurology, for example, the average wait for a first-available appointment has improved by 75 percent. Neurology also has added 100 more new patient appointments per week. These additional appointments are available at the main campus and throughout our UH system. Our physician liaison team also provides many opportunities for physician-to-physician interaction and communication, both professionally and socially. In addition, our new physician UHDoctor.org website promises to improve awareness and communication among UH physicians. UHDoctor.org showcases the clinical expertise available in the system, while providing a password-protected platform for internal communications among and between UH departments.

We are always looking for new ideas to improve awareness, access and physician-to-physician communication to build on the progress we’ve already made in achieving greater clinical integration. Please send me your thoughts as we work to create a health care system in which the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. 

Cindy Zelis, MD, MBA
Vice President, Clinical Integration
Office: 440-238-7676
Cindy.Zelis@UHhospitals.org