Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced key developments in e-Health that will dramatically speed the creation of a statewide electronic health care data network.

Fletcher has signed an emergency administrative regulation authorizing the establishment of the Kentucky e-Health Corporation (KeHC). KeHC is a non-profit corporation attached to the Kentucky e-Health Network Board.

The corporation will improve collaboration between the public and private sectors in meeting Fletcher's goal that all Kentuckians will have their health information electronically available by 2011.

"Kentucky is making progress toward a lower cost, higher quality health care system through our e-Health efforts," said Fletcher. "We are moving aggressively forward with making Kentucky a national leader in e-Health, and we want the involvement of the state's health care, business and community leaders in the e-Health transformation."

KeHC also will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the statewide e-Health network currently under development.

Fletcher and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services also announced that a new round of e-Prescribing Partnerships in Kentucky (ePPIK) grant funding will be available soon. The governor urged medical practices, local health departments, community health centers and other health care organizations interested in using electronic health records to begin working with community partners now to prepare for the grant solicitation.

The first round of e-Prescribing Partnerships in Kentucky (ePPIK) grants were awarded in January 2007 with funds from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Hal Rogers Grant. Fourteen communities across Kentucky received funding to implement health information technology that allows prescriptions and refill authorizations to be recorded and transmitted to pharmacies electronically.

Using electronic prescribing can improve quality by eliminating handwriting errors and automatically catching drug interaction problems.

"The medical community is transitioning from a paper-based to an electronic system," said Carol Steltenkamp, M.D., co-chair of the Kentucky e-Health Network Board. "These actions are necessary to speed the adoption of electronic health records and to develop the infrastructure to share those records anywhere a patient needs for them to go."

The goal of Kentucky's e-Health efforts is to improve personal health and health care by using information technology and collaboration to reduce medical errors, improve quality, lower administrative costs and make electronic medical records available to Kentuckians wherever they need care.

"We believe these e-Health initiatives will help make health care more affordable for Kentucky families and businesses, while also improving health care quality and outcomes," Fletcher said. "I am very proud that Kentucky is leading the way to this new era of medicine."