In honor of the past six decades of excellence, we highlight the experts who brought us to this point and those who are spearheading a new age of quality care.
College of Pharmacy
Kenneth Barker, Ph.D.
Dr. Ken Barker was ahead of his time. As the first pharmacy resident at UF Health in 1959, he walked hospital floors observing errors in medication administration, dispensing and prescribing. It seems obvious to record these incidents today, but Barker had only just created this method of direct observational research to measure error rates in medicine. Before he published his findings, medication errors were an unrealized problem. He was one of the pioneers — if not the pioneer — of medication safety in hospitals, said Amy Rosenberg, Pharm.D., BCPS, UF Health Shands Hospital pharmacy specialist in medication safety and quality. Thanks to Barker’s research, UF Health was at the forefront of the patient safety movement, which largely started in the late 1990s. Barker also developed the practice of unit dose drug distribution and improved the layout and lighting of pharmacies to reduce errors.
UF Health Shands Hospital
Nell Martin Critzer Miller
In a hospital culture in which patient advocacy was unheard of, Nellie Critzer Miller paved the way for meaningful and necessary care that patients and families needed beyond medical treatment.“ Mrs. Miller created a space for recognizing that patient care involved more than just arriving at a diagnosis and treatment,” said Christine Cassisi, the Patient Experience department director for UF Health Shands and the UF Health Sebastian Ferrero Office of Clinical Quality and Patient Safety. “She evolved caring for the whole person, for alleviating anxiety and engaging in simple acts of kindness.”
After the death of her husband, University of Florida President Joseph Hillis Miller, in 1953, she dedicated her time to providing patients with a link to their lives and their community. She delivered newspapers and mail from local patients’ homes, helped out-of-town families find lodging and even had flowers grown and arranged by UF gardeners delivered to patients who were without gifts. Her work led to the mighty group of patient advocates that address our patient concerns and unique needs, Cassisi said.
College of Medicine
Parker Gibbs Jr., M.D.
When C. Parker Gibbs Jr., M.D., UF College of Medicine orthopaedic oncologist, took the position of UF Health Shands chief medical officer in 2016, he made our culture of quality and safety a top priority.
“Quality and safety go hand-in-hand,” Gibbs said. “It doesn’t matter if we are looking at physical therapy, heart transplants, total joint replacement or pediatric oncology — maximizing quality and safety applies to them all.”
The hospital has improved both quality and safety in all clinical arenas under his guidance. Despite serving many of the most seriously ill patients in the state, UF Health has seen quality measures such as infection rates drop every year, and mortality rates are now among the lowest in the U.S. We currently measure quality and safety using metrics that providers and the government have determined important, but going forward, Gibbs said patients will be more involved in helping us define quality on their terms so we meet their needs.
“It will then be our job to provide quality care to serve our patients,” Gibbs said. “They are the reason we are here. We need to measure the outcomes of our treatments and ensure that patients do not experience harm in our hospital.”
“It doesn’t matter if we are looking at physical therapy, heart transplants, total joint replacement or pediatric oncology — maximizing quality and safety applies to them all. — C. PARKER GIBBS JR., M.D.