Conversation with Cleveland Clinic CIO

Credit Suisse, as part of their CIO Series, hosted Matt Kull, CIO, Cleveland Clinic, for a virtual meeting with a small group of investors.

Mr. Kull leads the information technology strategy by working with clinical partners and caregivers across the health system to enhance patient care through innovative technologies. 

Cleveland Clinic a nonprofit academic medical center, began in 1921 with 42 registered patients. Today, Cleveland Clinic serves more than 7.6 million patients in over 30 locations with more than 21,000 physicians and nurses and over 67,000 employees.

The first topic discussed concerned capital spending trends. Capital spending (which normally represents 8-9% of revenues) was reduced by 70-80% at Cleveland Clinic in 2020 in midst of the COVID pandemic, but now is ramping back up to pre-COVID-levels.

While the Cleveland Clinic plans to overspend in 2021, 2022, and 2023, the global telecom/semiconductor shortages are delaying capital spend due to the lack of volumes of equipment available.

Cleveland Clinic has been partnering with Amwell for over 6 years as a part of their Express Care online platform. The Cleveland Clinic has also expanded the partnership with Amwell for their second opinion services through a joint venture by launching The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic. The Clinic has seen strong adoption from health plans and employers globally, and while it is early to make forecasts of the success of the clinic, it has exceeded original targets.

Mr. Kull expects around 15-25% of ambulatory visits are likely to be virtual LT. However, given the recent trends, he is biased towards the lower end of the range. He noted that virtual care really serves an important role in those that are deficient in transportation, have children to take care of, or work long shifts. If there isn’t a payment parity, Mr. Kull notes it will be difficult to continue the service.

Concerning ZOOM and Micro soft Teams and their success in telemedicine during COVID, Mr. Kull noted that as strictly video chassis providers, both Zoom and Teams are the same and offer very simple features. If the two continue to expand their offerings, they will remain market leaders. However, asynchronous care remains difficult which neither ZOOM nor Teams offer.

Cleveland Clinic partnered with Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare to help Cleveland Clinic on their consumerization, which Mr. Kull defined as the process for making their platform as simple and as easy to use as possible which is especially important post-COVID.

Cleveland Clinic is also currently implementing a patient-based help desk platform using Nuance to help their remote users and virtual health users get answers to questions about getting ready for their visit.

RPM usage has a lot to offer, but incentives remain unaligned. The Cleveland Clinic uses Apogee to tie the devices together, but most organizations providing loT services, including the Apple Watch, will have the data reside on their own proprietary network. While there is a lot of opportunity in the space, Mr. Kull believes that incentives are not yet aligned to allow full access to the information that is required at scale.

To ask questions, provide feedback, or news, email Jailendra Singh at or call 212-325-8121.

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