Health and Family Services Cabinet
CHFS, e-Health Board to Launch Innovative ePrescribing Initiative
Grants will Electronically Connect Physicians, Pharmacists in Kentucky Communities
Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell announced Tuesday that CHFS and the Kentucky e-Health Network Board will launch a new ePrescribing grant program for physicians, pharmacists, and other health care providers.
ePrescribing allows for secure, interactive communication between physicians and pharmacies for the submission of prescriptions, refill authorizations, and other patient-based information related to pharmaceuticals. By using technology, rather than pens and paper, it has the potential to dramatically reduce medical errors and increase efficiency.
The $300,000 program, part of Kentucky’s growing e-health movement, is made possible by a $150,000 matching grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky obtained recently by CHFS and the e-Health Network Board. Working in conjunction with the board and other organizations such as the Kentucky Medical Association, CHFS will solicit grant applications beginning in summer 2006 from partnerships of physicians and other interested health care organizations.
“This funding will assist physicians and other stakeholders as they transition from a paper-based system of health care to an electronic health network,” said Birdwhistell. “This will make health care safer and more efficient for patients and clinicians alike, while helping to lay the groundwork for a statewide electronic health information system. We’re excited about getting started and moving Kentucky e-Health forward.”
The grant program represents a collaboration between Kentucky’s e-Health initiative and the Kentucky All-Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system, the nation’s leading prescription drug monitoring program targeting controlled substance fraud and abuse. The ePrescribing partnerships will augment KASPER’s current web-based efforts and help it prepare for the migration from paper-based to electronic prescribing.
The program will award grants to partnerships of physicians that invest collectively in ePrescribing technology in up to four Kentucky communities. These grants will match up to $90,000 in ePrescribing and electronic medical record (EMR) investment by community partnerships that apply and are selected. Physicians are encouraged to partner with members of other practice groups, as well as with other organizations within their community, such as clinics, hospitals, health plans or employers. The grants will help fund the purchase of technology or services necessary to begin ePrescribing, either in a standalone system or within a more robust EMR system.
“The Foundation is pleased to be partnering with the Cabinet and the e-Health Board on this important project,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, executive director of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “We believe ePrescribing and use of electronic medical records have the potential to make health care safer and ultimately more affordable for Kentuckians.”
Leaders of the e-Health Network Board also expressed their support for the program.
“Even though the tools are available, few physician offices take advantage of health information technology today due to its high cost,” said Dr. Carol Steltenkamp, chief medical information officer at UK HealthCare and co-chair of the e-Health Network Board. “This program will help physicians overcome financial barriers while encouraging community health care leaders to work together on e-health.”
Dr. Larry Cook, executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Louisville and the other co-chair of the e-Health Board, echoed these statements. “As a physician and a health care administrator, I see the need for increased collaboration and information sharing every day. The ePrescribing program is a strong first step toward those goals.”
Secretary Birdwhistell made the announcement today during the monthly meeting of the Kentucky e-Health Network Board, the entity charged with leading Kentucky to a statewide electronic health network.
The goal of Kentucky’s e-Health efforts is to improve health care by using technology and collaboration to provide Kentuckians with health information that is useful, timely, and accurate. A secure, integrated e-Health Network could reduce medical errors, improve patient privacy, lower administrative costs and help make electronic medical records available to Kentuckians. The effort positions Kentucky to meet the goal set forth by President Bush for most Americans to have electronic medical records by 2014.
Further information about the e-Health Network and its board members can be found at www.chfs.ky.gov/ehealth.