For Immediate Release
October 21, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Statewide Health Information Exchange planning begins

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the state designee for health information technology, is facilitating the creation of strategic and operational plans for a statewide infrastructure for the exchange of health information.  

“Health information exchange will connect Kansas health care systems together electronically,” Roderick Bremby, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said. “The primary goal is to allow healthcare providers and stakeholders to share data for coordinating patient care and to support public entities in understanding and improving health goals for the entire population.”

Every state will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help achieve the national goal of every American having an electronic health record by 2014.  Kansas submitted its grant application to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) on October 16. Kansas expects to receive $9 million for the four-year project, with confirmation of that amount in December and funds available by mid-January.  The initial work will be to develop and submit for approval strategic and operational plans.  Upon acceptance of those plans, the ONC will release funds to implement plans to create a statewide health information exchange that achieves meaningful use of the technology.

To guide the planning and implementation process, KDHE has convened an expanded e-Health Advisory Council, which is a broad base of health care stakeholders representing more than 30 health care organizations. This group is divided into workgroups, which are looking at five areas of the project: governance, technology, business operations, finance and legal. Workgroups have already begun meeting. The meeting of the e-Health Advisory Council and the workgroups will be October 23 from 1-5 p.m. at the Kansas Health Institute.   In January, the e-Health Advisory Council will begin consolidating the efforts of the workgroups into a strategic plan for Kansas.  Meetings are open to the public.

Operational planning for the health information exchange is expected to begin in January and occur throughout 2010, with implementation of the exchange set to begin in 2011. 

Additionally, the planning process will incorporate plans for a Regional Extension Center for which the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care (KFMC) is applying for a grant due November 3.  The KFMC-administered grant will provide 1,200 primary care providers with assistance implementing certified Electronic Medical Records (EMR).  Once a primary care provider is EMR enabled, they will be positioned to connect and participate in a health information exchange. For more information on the proposed Regional Extension Center, please contact the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care.

Note to editor/ reporter: Membership list of the e-Health Advisory Council attached.