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The Joint Commission announces new chief innovation officer

Monday, July 17, 2023

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Maureen Lyons
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(OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois, July 17, 2023) – The Joint Commission Enterprise, a global leader in health care quality improvement and patient safety, is pleased to announce that James Merlino, MD joins the organization’s senior leadership team on August 1, 2023, as executive vice president and chief innovation officer. Dr. Merlino brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to spearhead The Joint Commission's vision for evidence-based, data-driven, and outcomes-oriented health care.

As chief innovation officer, Dr. Merlino will provide day-to-day focus on the transformation of The Joint Commission’s services; utilizing data and innovation to inform strategic initiatives which advance health care quality and safety worldwide. Recognized as an expert in health care strategy, improving safety, quality, and patient experience, Dr. Merlino is well-positioned to use The Joint Commission’s unique position and scale to initiate impactful change throughout the health care industry. Dr. Merlino currently serves as chief clinical transformation officer at Cleveland Clinic, overseeing enterprise strategy, business development, safety, quality, and patient experience. Prior to Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Merlino served as chief transformation officer at Press Ganey.

"Jim’s appointment marks a significant milestone for our organization, as we welcome a visionary and effective leader in patient-centered innovation in quality and safety,” says Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI, president and chief executive officer, The Joint Commission Enterprise. “With his extensive experience both domestically and internationally, James combines his background as a surgeon with operational leadership at scale, providing invaluable perspective to link our aspirations for improving health care quality, safety, and value with a deep understanding of the mechanisms for transformation in real-world operating environments. We are thrilled to have James on board and look forward to the positive impact he will undoubtedly make in our ongoing pursuit of excellence in health care.”

"I am excited to join The Joint Commission and lead innovation efforts at such a prestigious organization dedicated to advancing health care quality and safety,” adds Dr. Merlino. “By harnessing the power of data, we will accelerate initiatives that have the potential to positively impact patient safety and transform the health care landscape globally. Together with health care organizations, we will build upon The Joint Commission's legacy of excellence and lead new approaches to continuously improve patient care."

Dr. Merlino earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baldwin-Wallace College and a medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He was also an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) fellow. Dr. Merlino completed his general surgery training at University Hospitals of Cleveland and his colorectal surgery fellowship at Cleveland Clinic.

With the appointment of Dr. Merlino, The Joint Commission reiterates its commitment to staying at the forefront of health care innovation, ensuring it remains the gold standard in providing accreditation, certification, and an array of services that guide health care organizations to achieve excellence in patient care.


About The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve healthcare for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating healthcare organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 22,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare. Learn more about The Joint Commission at