The Joint Commission Enterprise announces that James Merlino, MD, will join the organization’s senior leadership team on August 1, 2023, as executive vice president and chief innovation officer. As chief innovation officer, 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 healthcare quality and safety worldwide. 

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, 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 healthcare quality, safety, and value with a deep understanding of the mechanisms for transformation in real-world operating environments,” Perlin adds. “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.” 

Merlino also spoke out about his appointment, adding: “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. By harnessing the power of data, we will accelerate initiatives that have the potential to positively impact patient safety and transform the healthcare landscape globally. Together with healthcare organizations, we will build upon The Joint Commission’s legacy of excellence and lead new approaches to continuously improve patient care.”

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 fellow. Merlino completed his general surgery training at University Hospitals of Cleveland and his colorectal surgery fellowship at Cleveland Clinic.