The health system had been looking for a leader of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a 2.6-million-square-foot multispecialty hospital, since October when Dr. Andrew Fishleder abruptly stepped down from the role for unspecified “personal reasons.”
A pediatrician by training, the 47-year-old Harrison joined the Clinic’s children’s hospital in 1999. He’s an authority on the design of intensive care units and is credited with developing the hospital’s critical-care transport program, which has increased out-of-state visits to the Clinic. Harrison took on the chief medical operations officer role in 2009 after the departure of then-COO David Strand.
Harrison will begin as CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi on April 10, succeeding interim CEO Dr. Mark McPhee, The Plain Dealer reported. Among his top priorities will be recruiting candidates for a 3,000-person staff — including 300 physicians — that will draw from 20 different countries.
“This is the most exciting professional opportunity I could ever imagine,” said Harrison, who began discussing the Abu Dhabi position with Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Delos “Toby” Cosgrove in February.
In an interview last year with Becker’s Hospital Review, Harrison discussed the importance of using data to evaluate the Clinic’s physicians. “We show them metrics not only on clinical measures but also on such matters as access and patient satisfaction,” he said. “We can drill down to the individual doctor.”
“It is a very powerful tool,” he continued. “It has changed behavior of many areas in the organization in a good way. When you show them data on patient care, doctors will do almost anything for the patient.”
A graduate of Dartmouth Medical School, Harrison is an All-American triathlete and seven-time Ironman, according to his bio.