UK to Work with Physicians on Electronic Records

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 7, 2010) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the University of Kentucky will receive more than $6 million in federal funding to assist Kentucky physicians with maximizing the use of electronic health records in their practice. This funding will enable UK to establish the first Kentucky-based Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (REC) solely focused on serving Kentucky health care practitioners.

“The University of Kentucky is proud to accept this award from HHS,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK's executive vice president for health affairs.  "We are excited to create statewide partnerships to help physicians in Kentucky, many of whom trained at the UK College of Medicine, to maximize the potential of health information technology.”

The UK Research Foundation was among 28 non-profit organizations awarded a total of $267 million to establish the regional centers. This investment, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will help grow the emerging health information technology industry which is expected to support tens of thousands of jobs ranging from nurses and pharmacy techs to IT technicians and trainers.

“The University of Kentucky Regional Extension Center will include partnerships with many of UK’s colleges as well as other health care programs across the Commonwealth which will improve the quality of care for patients,” said Dr. Carol Steltenkamp, UK's chief medical information officer. “RECs will focus on helping health care practitioners in small practices, and small-community and critical-access hospitals, on how best to utilize electronic medical records and health information technology."

UK’s REC application includes partnerships with the University of Louisville, Kentucky’s Area Health Education Centers, Health Care Excel, and HealthBridge.

“This is an outstanding example of how UK faculty work to further UK's role as the Commonwealth's flagship university and to fulfill its land-grant mission by extending the benefits of its research to serve all the citizens of the state," said James W. Tracy, UK's vice president for research.

More information on the Regional Extension Center program is available at Regional Extension Center support is provided by the Office of the National Coordinator, Department and Human Services under the Notice of Grant Award Number, 90RC0058.