Public Release:  Kentucky receives top honors in nation's capital for health IT collaboration

University of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 12, 2012) - Representatives from the Kentucky Regional Extension Center (Kentucky REC), housed at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and the Kentucky Health Information Exchange (KHIE), part of the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services, received top honors in Washington, D.C. for exemplary work in health IT implementation.

Kentucky was selected as one of three states in the nation to receive awards from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for demonstrating strong partnerships between federally sponsored programs, local organizations, and state agencies. This collaboration has lead to the successful implementation and meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) throughout the state.

"This has a tremendous impact for rural health," said Dr. Carol Steltenkamp, chief medical information officer for UK HealthCare and principal investigator for the Kentucky REC. "It symbolizes not only a cooperative, joint effort among stakeholders but it proves that physicians are engaged in the adoption process and see the long-term goal of data transmission across the continuum of care."

Kentucky was showcased for achieving the nation's first successful transmission of a secure continuity of care document to the Kentucky Cancer Registry. The collaborative efforts between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky Cancer Registry, KHIE and the Kentucky REC, enabled the trade of vital health statistics that will help population health experts study the prevalence and incidence rates of chronic disease across the state.

The teams were also recognized for pioneer work in assisting behavioral health facilities. As one of only five states in the nation to receive Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration funding for Health IT implementation, Kentucky is now on path to facilitate the integration of primary and behavioral health care, helping mental health and substance abuse facilities implement EHRs and transmit data.

To date, the Kentucky REC has assisted more than 2,400 individual providers, 500 provider organizations, more than 95 percent of Kentucky's Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and 100 percent of grant-eligible Critical Access and Rural Hospitals.

Additionally, more than 100 provider organizations have a live connection to KHIE, representing a diverse spectrum of clinical connections. Together, the Kentucky REC and KHIE have helped providers in Kentucky secure more than $115 million in Meaningful Use incentive dollars.

"To be in the limelight on the national stage helps redefine the way people look not only at Kentucky, but health care in Kentucky," Steltenkamp said. "It's truly an honor to be part of something that will revolutionize the way we practice medicine."

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The Kentucky REC, based at UK, is one of 60 regional extension centers across the country commissioned by the Office of the National Coordinator to help providers and hospitals transition to EHR technology. Kentucky REC implementation specialists provide resources and guidance to help providers gain federal incentives through the Meaningful Use Incentive Program. For more information about the Kentucky REC, visit www.kentuckyrec.com.

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