Spotlight on Edwin Loftin, Parrish Medical Center

Parrish Medical Center, a 210- bed, non-profit organization has made a commitment to all 13 of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation’s Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APPS). Edwin Loftin, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Acute Care, discusses Patient Safety, how Parrish continues to leave an impressive mark on the healthcare industry, and why making a commitment to the Patient Safety Movement Foundation is an obligation for every organization and provider. Under Loftin’s leadership, Parrish continues to rank among the best in CMS core quality measures, maintains a patient safety “A” by the Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Report, was recognized in 2016 by Safe Care as a Top 100 hospital, and became the first organization honored by The Joint Commission in integrated care. Although Parrish Medical Center is honored by a myriad of organizations, Loftin reiterates that even Parrish has a long way to go to achieve zero preventable deaths by 2020. “We are
not satisfied with this being the end result. We have a long way to go to make sure we aren’t just counting errors but achieving zero preventable patient deaths because every event is a person’s life or life experience.”

PSMF: Please introduce yourself, Parrish Medical Center, and provide a timeline of your life and education.

LOFTIN: My name is Edwin Loftin, I am a licensed RN, and just celebrated my tenth year in my role as Vice President of Nursing at Parrish Medical Center, located on Florida’s Space Coast. Prior to moving to Florida, I spent most of my adult life and healthcare career in North Carolina. I recently returned to school and am a third of the way through my Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) at the University of Central Florida. Through my DNP Executive Program, I am focusing on the elimination of errors in transitions of care. This doctoral project will be implemented at Parrish Medical Center and if successful will be shared with any organization interested.

PSMF: What intrigued you to start a career and role as Vice President of Nursing at Parrish Medical Center?

LOFTIN: A series of conversations and interviews with George Mikitarian, President & CEO of Parrish Medical Center, was what originally prompted my interest in what, at the time, was a vision unlike any other. George’s vision of healthcare and commitment to ensure Parrish wouldn’t just be a typical hospital, but to be one of America’s finest healing environments, was what affirmed my decision to join Parrish. I wanted to be part of a culture that promotes a positive healing environment for the healthcare team and the Brevard County community we serve. The vision George once spoke about a decade ago has now become our mission statement at Parrish, “Healing Experiences for Everyone all the Time®.”

PSMF: What is your definition of patient safety?

LOFTIN: When you first asked this question, I immediately thought patient safety is safe patient care. No errors. Yet, the more I thought and reflected on the meaning of patient safety I thought about Parrish’s belief that patient safety begins with the healthcare team. When every healthcare professional on a care team focuses on every single patient as a person—a mother, father, daughter, son, etc.— not just the numbers, error rates or percentiles, then there would be safe care delivery across the healthcare industry. Patient safety begs us, as healthcare professionals, to take every single patient’s care personally and professionally.

PSMF: What drives your passion to go out of your way to protect the safety of patients?

LOFTIN: Currently, in my conference room, I have four photographs of patients who passed away due to systematic failures within our nation’s healthcare system. They serve as a reminder that beyond the tasks of providing healthcare, we must to take accountability for each patient’s life. There are many stories at Parrish that inspire us toward that end.

PSMF: Is there a story in particular that propels your passion?

LOFTIN: The story of a patient named Sam stands out to me because of the reaction I received from his mother. I remember going into the dark, shadowy room and seeing a distraught mother whose son we were treating medically, but not necessarily caring for him as person. Sam had a traumatic brain injury that rendered him to a near vegetative state. His mother challenged me to reconsider my approach to patient care. She pointed out certain cues that only a mother might notice, like the twitch of Sam’s toe was a sign that he was in pain. Sam liked sunlight on his face, but we kept the blinds drawn and room dark. She reminded me that every patient (person) has a story and we need to learn that story as part of the care plan for patients. When I think about what’s important in regards to healthcare, I think about Sam.

PSMF: How do you build and motivate a team of leaders to commit to improving patient safety?

LOFTIN: It is through out Game Plan, which is our organization’s strategic plan. This plan is discussed, reviewed and monitored on daily basis by our care teams and monthly with our board of directors and executive leadership team. We attribute this plan to our success in achieving high level of quality and safety in regards to our patients.

PSMF: What sets the Parrish Patient Safety team apart?

LOFTIN: Two things set us apart. First, our care partners (employees, providers and volunteers). Second is our Game Plan. Each year identify our strategic priorities. We assess care and outcomes across the continuum. Our priorities are categorized into 10 areas. Five of those focus on what we do and the remaining five focus on how we do it. In all areas, we seek to maintain a patients’ best health, with the goal of remaining in the nation’s top 10th percentile across all areas of focus. Our stellar outcomes come from how we educate businesses, ourselves, patients, and the community we serve. PSMF: How did you come across the Patient Safety Movement Foundation and what prompted you to make not just one commitment but all 13? LOFTIN: I originally heard about the Patient Safety Movement Foundation from Dr. Yisrael Safeek, founder of The SafeCare Group. Upon reviewing the Patient Safety Movement Foundation’s Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS), I fortunately already possessed all of the necessary information to become involved in the process. A deeper dive into the APSS led me to realize the streamlined process set forth by the PSMF did not require any additional reporting or data collection on our part, and that we at Parrish Medical Center were already implementing all actionable patient safety solutions. Our commitment to the Patient Safety Movement Foundation serves as a platform to emphasize and remind us to never overlook patient safety.