Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Delivers Address on the Future of E-Health in Kentucky

Press Release Date:  Friday, January 19, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Vikki Franklin

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher and Health and Human Services Interim Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. Robert Kolodner joined the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and the Kentucky e-Health Network Board today for the state’s first e-Health Summit.

During his keynote address, Governor Fletcher touted the possibilities of e-Health, the term used to describe an electronic health care network. Joined by leaders in technology, health care and other business fields, the governor gave a broad overview of e-Health achievements in Kentucky and mapped future plans and goals to advance the field.

“Today we stand on the cusp of a new wave of innovation and change that will fundamentally reshape the health sector of our economy, as well as how we think about health and wellness,” said Governor Fletcher. “In the same way that technology and Web-based communication have transformed every other sector of our economy, instant access to information when we need it is going to do the same thing for health and health care. This means that we are making the health care system more efficient and user-friendly for both patients and providers.”

Governor Fletcher also presented e-Prescribing grants, monetary awards for health care providers wishing to implement e-Health, during the summit. Awardees included:

  • Baker Family Care - $10,000, Dr. Brenda Baker, M.D., Neon
  • Kentucky Primary Care Association, Inc. - $ 81,000, Joseph Smith, executive director, Frankfort
  • University of Kentucky North Fork Valley Community Health Center - $81,000, Michael Stanley, chief executive officer, Hazard
  • St. Claire Medical Center - $81,000, Mark Neff, chief executive officer, Morehead 
  • Clinton County Hospital, Inc. - $24,760, Dr. Randel A. Flowers, Albany

The summit, held at the Louisville Marriott Downtown, provided an opportunity to discuss the progress, opportunities and challenges facing Kentucky as the state works to develop and implement e-Health, a computerized medical information network to improve patient privacy, reduce medical errors, lower administrative costs and help make electronic medical records available to more Kentuckians.

The vision of Kentucky’s landmark e-Health legislation passed in 2005 is to lower costs, increase quality and improve health outcomes. The e-Health Summit brought state and community leaders involved in e-Health initiatives throughout Kentucky together to learn more about the efforts of the Kentucky e-Health Network Board and various local health information exchange efforts.

In addition, the summit served as a networking forum for individuals and organizations interested in health information technology (HIT) and health information exchange (HIE) and showcased the work of the Kentucky e-Health Network Board, e-Health innovators around the state and national trends and efforts.

“Technology has transformed so much about the American economy, yet the health care industry continues to lag behind. We want to help make our hospitals, provider offices and pharmacies even more productive and efficient and enhance the quality of care by helping establish an e-Health network in Kentucky,” said CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell. “This is the right time to make the change.”