It is often said that one benefit of using digital documentation in
place of paper is the saving of trees. Now a $6 million federal grant
awarded to the University of
to fund a project called PaperFree Florida
is touted as having the potential to save lives as well as create jobs.
The grant is expected to fund more than 100 jobs, with most of them
being what USF Health
Klasko refers to as "electronic health care ambassadors." People filling
these jobs will help physicians in a 20-county area transition to an
electronic system of prescribing drugs and maintaining medical records.
USF Health has set up a PaperFree Florida
website which provides information about the project.
The jobs will be phased in, says Project Director Dr. Jay
"These jobs will be the result of recruitment, training and placement
of qualified individuals over a four-year period," Wolfson says.
Florida expects to hire its first electronic health ambassadors by June.
People who are hired will then undergo training, which should take
between 60 and 90 days.
The initial funding for the jobs is substantial, but as a grant the
dollars allocated are finite. However, Wolfson sees a long-term need
for electronic health ambassadors in the rapidly changing healthcare
"This is a very cool project designed to create a new component of
the health workforce, e-health ambassadors, who will play a permanent
role facilitating the meaningful use of health information at the
community level in order to improve quality, safety, access to
appropriate care and reduce costs," he says.
The federal grant is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Source: Susanna Martinez Tarokh, USF Health