UF Health Shands CEO Ed Jimenez answers questions in each issue of News+Notes. It’s our newsletter for staff who provide and support patient care in the hospital system. Jimenez also posts regularly on the Bridge intranet, so check out “Leaders Online” and “Leadership Status Updates” on the homepage. This month, we’re talking about what’s in store for 2019.
What are some of your priorities for patient care this year?
I’m thrilled about how we’ve been focused on clinical outcomes and quality and taking patient care to new levels. We had a good year making progress with some fantastic results. We have to make it a priority to reflect on our success stories and remind ourselves of the groundbreaking work going on here daily. This keeps the momentum going for what’s ahead.
Let’s talk quality measures. We’re among the leaders nationally for reducing mortality, which is challenging in an academic hospital system. We serve extremely compromised patients with complex conditions coming to us from places unable to help them. Other physicians refer them here because we have the best expertise to give patients a fighting chance.
Our adult lung transplant program had spectacular outcomes. Their wait time is three months on average, compared with the six-month state average. Our one-year survival rate is above 93 percent, compared with the national average of 87 percent. We have the lowest mortality rate for adult patients waiting for a transplant. That’s just incredible!
Another example: We’re changing the face of ECMO* — our team received an international honor recently for their life support. We have a well-trained and experienced adult and pediatric ECMO team that gets called on to provide care in transit via ambulance, helicopter or airplane. They quickly mobilize, stay focused and stabilize patients when other teams are cautious about doing so. Our folks have a confident, “We got this” approach. People think, “Wow, that’s incredible.” But our staff thinks, “It’s our job; it’s what we do.” Because of their high standards, sometimes our staff don’t realize just how amazing they are.
These are just examples. We’re set on a course where we can be proud of our outcomes and what’s ahead.
*Note: ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, for which specialists use an oxygenator outside the patient’s body to pump blood when the heart or lungs are not functioning properly.
What else is a focus for 2019?
It’s exciting to see what the future holds as far as discovery. We’re moving a lot faster in taking science to the bedside. That’s pretty cool — to take an idea, work it out and see patients benefit. This year, we’re going to see so much progress. It’s like anything else, such as running a marathon or learning how to bake a cake: You have the ingredients, you keep developing the talents and skill with practice and problem-solving, and you keep moving forward and getting stronger and stronger. We’re primed for another decade ahead with remarkable changes and discoveries for our patients.
How are we doing with our interim leaders in place for the coming months?
It’s a fun time to be in this office, collaborating with Dr. Nelson (David R. Nelson, M.D., interim senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health) and Dr. Tyndall (Joseph A. Tyndall, M.D., M.P.H., UF College of Medicine interim dean).
Dr. Nelson is a leader in his field — he’s changed how patient care is delivered internationally. He has a great mind and is fascinated with how to get discovery to the bedside. He is still a practicing physician and committed to patients. His dedication, passion and drive, honestly, makes us all want to be better.
Dr. Tyndall comes to the interim dean role with such a knowledge of day-to-day care. He is still practicing emergency medicine, and also has a down-to-earth approach as a leader. He creates an environment for us to strive to do more for patients and create better ways of working together.
In this environment, excellence is all around us. The bar is set at an amazing, high level. We all have an obligation to contribute and support our missions. I look around and pinch myself … am I really here and blessed to be part of such an organization … With all we do — it’s no wonder UF Health Shands is considered among the best.
I look forward to the year ahead to see what else we will do together.