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In an increasingly wired and digital age, more and more aspects of our lives are now “plugged in,” including the doctor’s office. The UCF College of Medicine’s Regional Extension Center (REC) is working with medical practices throughout Central Florida to switch from paper to electronic health record (EHR) systems.

On April 4, the REC honored nearly 60 local medical professionals as Meaningful Use Vanguards or (MUVers.) These individuals are leading the way by making meaningful use of electronic health records and urging their peers to do the same.

The Regional Extension Center opened in 2010, thanks to a $7.8 million federal grant and has worked with over 2,100 health providers in selecting, implementing and effectively using electronic records. “It’s so exciting to have an opportunity to lead and to contribute to this exciting movement that’s going on in health information technology,” said Josue Rodas, executive director of the REC. “We are creating the foundation of what’s going to happen in future generations.” So far, 2100 Central Florida health providers have started using electronic health records. The REC plans to bring 100% of them to meaningful use. Meaningful use is a set of standards for health providers, assuring that the facility is using their electronic records to improve quality, safety and efficiency for their patients. Fulfilling the extensive standards allows physicians and their practices to be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid incentives. So far, the REC has helped local physicians earn $11.8 million in incentives.

The MUV honorees work as physicians and office administrators across Central Florida and can offer advice to other medical professionals who are considering making the switch. Proponents of electronic records say they improve patient safety by reducing the number of redundant tests, improving communication with patients and identifying potentially dangerous drug interactions. The secure use of electronic records also allows better coordination of care between a patient’s various physicians.

oliveiraDr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the UCF College of Medicine, presented each MUVer with a plaque and thanked them for their innovative spirit. “We need health care leaders who understand the technology and recognize that this technology will never replace the hands-on interaction that we have with our patients.” Dr. German said. “We need to use the technology to make it better and to allow us to do our jobs more effectively.”

After the awards presentation, a panel of physicians, health care administrators and insurance professionals shared their experiences with EHR technology, and their ideas for the future. Ideas included secure health information exchanges that allow hospitals, insurers and clinicians to share patient information and identify best practices for improving population health. Such exchanges can also be invaluable when patients enter a facility away from home and their local physician. Recently, Hurricane Sandy on the nation’s east coast highlighted the importance of electronic records. Severe storms forced some hospital and nursing home patients to be transferred to other locations. Health care providers were able to safely and effectively continue and coordinate care because they shared electronic health records.

One of the panelists was Dr. Leonardo Oliveira, a sports medicine specialist at UCF Pegasus Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Dr. Oliveira was honored as a Meaningful Use Vanguard and serves as director of quality and safety at Pegasus Health, where he has spearheaded efforts to implement electronic records. “Physicians want to practice at the top of their license and do the best for their patients,” he said. “We really think that the use of EHRs can allow us to provide great quality care for our patients, and we’re excited for the next steps.”


UCF College of Medicine Regional Extension Center Meaningful Use Vanguard Honorees:

Stephen Asmann, M.D. Marze Houellemont, P.A.
Abdo Asmar, M.D. Robert Howard
Abu Azizullah, M.D. Cara Jakob, M.D.
Shazia Beg, M.D. ChristopherJordan
Stephen Berman, M.D. Augustine Joseph, M.D.
Lisa Burdue Sarah Kaylor
Maria Cannarozzi, M.D. Marcy LeVee
Tammy Coffman Valerie Lewis
Sigornee Colby David Lichtinger, M.D.
Martha Coleman Terry Mach
Azita Cooke Hope Maddix, N.P.
John Cooke, M.D. Dee Dee Meyer
Georg Couturier, M.D. Alfred Moffett, M.D.
Memory Crowley, M.D. DouglasMoffett, M.D.
Mariana Dangiolo, M.D. Adinarayanamurthy Nallamshetty, M.D.
Raj Desai Jasvendar Nandra, M.D.
Kalpana Desai, M.D. Thanh Nguyen, M.D.
Margaret Eastham, M.D. Theresa Oakley, M.D.
Sidi Elalaoui, M.D. Leonardo Oliveira, M.D.
George Elias, M.D. Joyce Paulson, M.D.
Karen England Ann Pike
Dawn Farmer Purnima Rao, M.D.
Penny Feagle Victor Roberts, M.D.
Drew Findley Anna Roth, P.A
Sharon Findley, M.D. Sergio Salazar, M.D.
Debbie German Ashley Sharma, M.D.
Bernard Gros, M.D. Melissa Shilling
Christopher Guzik, M.D. Deborah Townsend
Nadia Hilal Sherry Tutor
Amy Hjort, M.D. Niki Warens
Michelle Hornstein, M.D. Michelle Wood, M.D.


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