Reports address key points to move Kentucky e-Health forward
On April 17, 2007, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and the Kentucky e-Health Network Board released a road map for Kentucky’s future electronic health information network, designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health care.
Unveiled during the e-Health board’s monthly meeting in the Capitol Annex, the Kentucky e-Health Action Plan and the Kentucky e-Health Privacy and Security Report represent tremendous progress in Kentucky’s e-Health efforts.
“My administration is focused on improving healthcare in Kentucky by increasing quality and lowering cost,” said Gov. Ernie Fletcher. “One of the most important steps in accomplishing these goals is establishing a statewide e-Health network. The same technology we use in everyday life will be a part of improving healthcare and making it more affordable. These reports outline how to do that while ensuring that Kentuckians’ medical records will be secure.”
The road map lays out a comprehensive plan for establishing a statewide network. The privacy and security report provides recommendations for how to ensure that patient privacy and confidentiality can be maintained when using an electronic health record system.
Specifically, the two reports address:
- Conducting a statewide assessment of e-Health use among physicians, hospitals and other entities to get a better understanding of information technology use and needs;
- Developing a significant baseline e-Health infrastructure as a foundation that connects health care providers and facilities across the state, while also assisting communities with the development of local e-Health efforts;
- Developing information resources and technical assistance for providers, practitioners and communities to connect to e-Health resources and best practices;
- Replacing the current patchwork of state and federal law and regulation regarding privacy and security with a consistent framework for protecting and exchanging health information electronically; and
- Developing resources in everyday language for providers and consumers to help clarify common misunderstandings of laws and regulations regarding privacy and security.
The goal of Kentucky’s e-Health efforts is to use health information technology and information exchange to improve the state’s system of healthcare delivery and administration. Such a system could improve patient privacy, reduce medical errors, lower health care costs and help make electronic medical records available to more Kentuckians. A Kentucky e-Health Network is the overarching goal set forth in Senate Bill 2, which the General Assembly passed in 2005.
“This marks the beginning of the end of the clipboard in healthcare,” said CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell. “We are moving closer to eliminating the frustration we all feel when repeatedly filling out forms at our physicians’ offices or at a hospital.”
The e-Health board consists of nine at-large members appointed by the governor and 13 other members who serve by virtue of their position in the General Assembly, the administration, the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville. The action plan and the privacy and security report are the result of months of collaborative work with a broad cross-section of stakeholders, including hospitals, clinicians, health plans, community e-Health leaders, universities and consumers, among others.
Further information about the e-Health Network Board and its initiatives can be found at http://ehealth.ky.gov/.