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Federal funds aim to ease transition into electronic prescriptions

USF Health received nearly $6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Monday to alleviate pressures in the job market, foster transparency in government spending and initiate economic growth.

The money will be allocated to the University’s PaperFree Florida, an initiative to implement electronic prescriptions in the Tampa Bay area, congresswoman Kathy Castor said in a release.

Electronic prescriptions will be used to help reduce medical errors and limit the amount of paper work, allowing patients to receive medicine more efficiently.

Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health, said in a release that the initiative will also convert current health records to electronic files, making the prescription process “more convenient for everyone and safer for patients.”

PaperFree Florida is expected to create more than 100 jobs in health care and information technology fields. “Ambassadors” will be hired to help doctors transition to the electronic system.

“Hand-written, illegible prescriptions can be a thing of the past,” Castor said. “Electronic prescriptions are a step toward the future.”

According to a release, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the initiative, if implemented nationwide, would reduce the federal government’s health care cost by more than $12 billion over the next decade.

University spokesman Michael Hoad and Klasko were unavailable for comment.