By Letitia Stein, symptoms Times Staff Writer (Tampabay.com)
University of South Florida leaders said Tuesday they are ready to use $6 million from the federal stimulus bill to hire “e-ambassadors” to help doctors convert to using electronic medical records.
Within about three months, USF hopes to make the first of about 100 hires for its PaperFree Florida initiative to modernize daily medical practice.
“It’s not about the hardware and the software,” said Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF medical school. “It’s about changing the DNA of health care.”
The federal government is pushing doctors to replace paper charts and prescription pads with electronic records to reduce medical errors and unnecessary testing. But the transition can be difficult for physicians, especially those in solo or small practices.
To assist, the university will train workers to serve doctors much like agricultural extension agents help farmers. These e-ambassadors would educate health professionals about electronic record-keeping systems and aid them in adopting and using the technology.
“We’re not sending out salespeople,” said Jay Wolfson, a USF public health professor who is the project’s director. “We’re sending out a force of extension agents who will be available to clinicians.”
About 1,000 physicians already have expressed interest, he said.
The effort will cover 20 rural and urban counties, including all of the Tampa Bay region. The university is working with community colleges on a training program. Organizers expect to draw job candidates from health-related fields and beyond.
Wolfson said that jobs should pay $40,000 to $50,000. USF hopes to partner with medical groups to develop a model that can continue after the federal grant ends.
“It’s going to save lives,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, who helped secure the funds. “It’s going to save money, since we can squeeze a lot of efficiencies out of the health care system.”
Letitia Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3322. For more health news, visit tampabay.com/health.
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2010) â€“ onFocus Healthcare, Inc. (www.onfocushealthcare.com), the leading provider of web-based enterprise performance management solutions for the healthcare services marketplace, today announced it has secured $3 million in Series B financing led by Clayton Associatesâ€™ FCA Venture Partners IV. Limestone Fund, Tri-Star Technology Fund, Solidus Company, NCN Angel Fund, Kestrel Asset Management and Heritage Group Holdings also participated in the round. Solidus led the companyâ€™s Series A round, which also included Kestrel and Heritage.
A portion of the latest round of funding came from the Tennessee Small Business Company Investment Credit Act (TNInvestco), which was created last year to fund innovative Tennessee companies. Limestone and Tri-Star are two of the venture funds selected to participate in the program.
The company will use the financing to support ongoing sales and marketing of its onFocus|epmTM â€œEnterprise Performance Managementâ€ or (EPM) software, which is used by executive teams in hospitals and other healthcare settings to ensure accountability and consistently achieve critical business objectives across the organization. onFocus|epm is a one-of-a-kind web-based solution that allows healthcare leaders to integrate business intelligence data from any source with strategic goals, action plans, progress tracking and management accountability to ensure targeted results at all levels of the organization.