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Service Fanatics will become the gold standard on patient-centered care. Cleveland Clinic in all its glory, like many of the rest of us in healthcare, had lost its way with compassion and empathy. Dr. James Merlino in his role as the Clinic’s Chief Experience Officer, along with CEO Toby Cosgrove and the rest of the healers at Cleveland Clinic, changed that by putting Patients First. Merlino’s description of this journey is at times painful, raw, and brutally honest. Service Fanatics and its author exude passion, humility, integrity, and caring. It will make any organization better and is a must-read for everyone in healthcare.”

—David T. Feinberg, MD, president of UCLA Health System and CEO of UCLA Hospital System


“Merlino gives a behind-the-scenes account of how Cleveland Clinic, traditionally known for medical excellence, transformed itself to put equal focus on the patient experience. It’s a fascinating story on its own merits, but it’s also the story of the future of healthcare. For all healthcare leaders who are (or those who soon will be) leading a similar transformation, this book will be an indispensable guide to the journey ahead.”

—Dan Heath, coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive


“This book is a candid recounting of Cleveland Clinic’s rocky, flawed journey toward creating world-class patient experience. James Merlino is painfully honest about the failures and mistakes along the way, even as he lays out a practical road map for change. This combination of candor, pragmatism, and hope is why Merlino has emerged as one of the most respected healthcare leaders in the country. Service Fanatics is invaluable for any hospital administrator determined to transform patient experience.”

—Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group


“Driven by his experience as a family member, patient, and physician, Jim’s passion has created a movement to refocus the healthcare system’s design, process, and culture on the patient. With his colleagues at Cleveland Clinic, he has championed the effort to once again center care around the patient and has engaged healthcare leaders across the industry to embrace transparency in the spirit of improvement. Jim’s commitment to his patients and empathy for their journey resonates on every page of this book. When we reflect on the major transformation of the industry, history will show that Jim Merlino and Cleveland Clinic were at the forefront of returning our healthcare system to the patient and helping us return to the noble cause that drew us all to careers in healthcare.”

—Pat Ryan, CEO of Press Ganey


“It’s an important work by the leading voice in patient experience. It’s also a gripping personal narrative that changed my perspective on every doctor-patient interaction I’ve had in my life…. Service Fanatics is upfront about just how hard it is to change a culture so that it becomes truly customer-centric—then tells you how you can do it anyway. Merlino describes the challenges at Cleveland Clinic with an unsentimental eye, and he also provides detailed descriptions of what the leadership team did to overcome those challenges…. All in all, Service Fanatics is a great read that’s also making me smarter about patient experience. If only all business books could bring those two elements together.”

—Harley Manning,


“It is one thing for a leader to establish an organization-wide priority and quite another to achieve it. To many, Cleveland Clinic’s rapid improvement in patient satisfaction scores appears nearly miraculous. Dr. Merlino’s book offers a compelling and candid tale of how an already great hospital engaged its 43,000 employees to become even better. By detailing every step with candor and eloquence, this book explains precisely how the hospital achieved its gains—and, in so doing, offers invaluable lessons not only for healthcare leaders but also for anyone interested in how to achieve meaningful progress across any organization.”

—Barbara R. Snyder, president of Case Western Reserve University


“Anyone involved in healthcare will treasure Dr. Jim Merlino’s book because it provides a candid, poignant look at patient care from both provider and patient perspectives. The stories and lessons around empathy and compassion are inspirational and help us think more clearly about the importance of the overall patient experience.”

—Kurt Newman, MD, president and CEO of Children’s National Health System


“In this warts-and-all account, Jim Merlino describes how he and his Cleveland Clinic colleagues transformed a culture focused almost exclusively on clinical excellence into one that fully embraced the need to deliver a caring and empathic experience for people. In so doing, Merlino has created a comprehensive and methodical playbook for other healthcare organizations seeking to fulfill the same paramount objective: putting patients first.”

—Susan Dentzer, senior policy adviser to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


“The art and science of caring for others is remarkably highlighted in Dr. Merlino’s splendid Service Fanatics. This is a must-read for all leaders or aspiring leaders in the business of delivering professional services. Dr. Merlino and his Cleveland Clinic colleagues get it!”

—Marc Byrnes, chairman of Oswald Companies


“Cleveland Clinic is a great example of what healthcare should embody— full service to each and every patient. I’ve seen what their work and commitment have done, with a very important member of my family, my brother, and it’s fantastic. Every medical venue should emulate their facilities as well as their superb and comprehensive services. Keep up the great work.”

—Donald J. Trump

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