Sometimes a little funding can go a long way.
The W. Martin Smith Interdisciplinary Patient Quality and Safety Awards Program, established by the UF Health Self-Insurance Program and the College of Medicine Continuing Medical Education office, exemplify the fact that a small amount of funding can have a big impact.
The awards are geared toward improving patient safety and quality. Their name derives from W. Martin Smith, the originator of academic self-insurance for the University of Florida, who retired in 2012.
“He gave more than 40 years of his life to building these programs, and they’ve been a model throughout the country,” said Randall C. Jenkins, SIP administrator and a clinical associate professor in the College of Public Health and Health Professions.
The awards are presented twice annually, and the application process is competitive. The review committee receives around 15 applicants per cycle and accepts only three to five.
“We select the ones we think have a project that will most likely show some meaningful improvement,” Jenkins said.
Nicole Paradise Black, M.D., M.Ed., an associate professor of pediatrics in the College of Medicine and one of the awards’ earliest recipients, used her award to improve patient- and family-centered care.
Paradise Black’s award involved the development of a family partner role for the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. The family partner, who serves as a link between families and staff, helped improve communication efforts about the newly implemented white boards in patient rooms. The white boards provided a new way for families and parents to communicate with staff members while allowing them to feel more involved in their child’s care.
“Studies show that when you have patients as your partners, care is better overall,” Paradise Black said. “The quality is better, so it just makes sense to carry out your care in that way.”
Paradise Black also helped organize the hospital’s general parental advisory board, composed of family members who have experienced both the inpatient and outpatient sides of UF Health and who could contribute to the mission of the hospital. Her project is one of many the awards program has helped finance.
“There are some very interesting, innovative applications,” said Phillip M. Cox II, the associate director of patient safety, research and education for the Self-Insurance Program. “Now our objective is to see these awards implemented with an effect as far-reaching as possible.”