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PaperFree Florida to help move physicians towards electronic health records
Date:4/19/2010

as delivering electronic prescriptions directly to pharmacies. However, doctors across the country have been slow to move to the electronic age, in part because of the difficulty of selecting and learning to use new systems.

USF Health's e-ambassadors will help bridge that gap.

"We're like the primer coat of paint for these doctor's offices, and then they can go and flourish from there," Dr. Klasko said.

USF Health began work on this initiative a year ago with the launching of a pilot program, PaperFree Tampa Bay. Last summer, medical students visited doctors throughout Tampa Bay, teaching them how to use electronic records and learning from them what they would need to use electronic records successfully.

Now, with the stimulus funds, PaperFree Florida will train 100 people to perform a new type of job that combines both information technology and health. As those people enter the Florida workforce over the next four years, they will help shape the state's new knowledge economy.

At the news conference announcing the grant, Dr. Hugo Navarte, assistant professor of medicine at USF Health, demonstrated how electronic records can provide faster, more accurate information about their patients.

"I can make much more informed decisions and provide better quality of care," said Dr. Navarte, who began using electronic records a few years ago.

Before the switch, for example, if a patient of another doctor called with a medical question on the weekend, and Dr. Navarte was on call, he would have few choices about how to help that patient. Either he would have to come into the office to review the patient's records or rely on the patient's memory. Now, he can access those records remotely.

Electronic medical records also can make medicine safer. They can prevent mistakes when pharmacists misread the names or dosages in handwritten prescriptions.

They also can stop a doctor who is, for example, a
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Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
abaier@health.usf.edu
813-974-3300
University of South Florida Health
Source:Eurekalert  

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