KY-REC examines progress transitioning the state to a uniform health record system

Published 12-20-2011 10:35 AM | Mark D. Birdwhistell  


More than 1,000 health care providers across the Commonwealth are adopting electronic health record systems with assistance from the University of Kentucky HealthCare's Regional Extension Center (KY-REC). Passing this program milestone, the KY-REC continues to expand its efforts to facilitate electronic health record adoption among Kentucky healthcare providers.

During a Dec. 12 joint meeting, the KY-REC External Advisory Board and Steering Committee reviewed the KY-REC's progress helping priority primary care providers (PPCPs) implement the use of electronic health record systems (EHRs). The KY-REC is one of 62 national extension centers established by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Act working with PPCPs to establish an electronically-linked health information network. By utilizing EHR technology effectively, health care providers can lower healthcare costs by eliminating duplicative tests, reducing errors, improving clinical decision-making and communicating with other practices.

KY-REC agents assist PPCPs in achieving Meaningful Use of EHRs, a status that is obtained by meeting guidelines identified by the federal government. Providers participating in the REC program participate in a three-phase adoption and evaluation process to prove the maximization of EHR system benefits. Health care providers that enroll in the program are eligible for up to $44,000 in Medicare incentives or $63,000 in Medicaid incentives over a five to six year period.

Rob Edwards, director of the KY-REC, reported on the milestones the KY-REC has reached since it was established in 2010. With a current enrollment of 1,061 PCPPs, the KY-REC surpassed its goal of serving more than 1,000 practices in October. Based on the completion of this milestone, the KY-REC is currently ranked as 14th out of 62 RECs nationwide.

Carol Steltenkamp, MD, KY-REC chair, and Edwards led a discussion on the sustainability of the KY-REC, collecting input from the board and steering committee about future opportunities for engagement. Updates were also provided by a representative from the Kentucky Health Information Exchange which is working with the KY-REC to connect electronic health record systems to a functioning statewide health information database.  

In preparation for its biennial review, the KY-REC collected performance feedback from attendees of the meeting. The KY-REC will be evaluated by a national panel in March on factors including outreach, education, implementation, project management and progress toward achieving Meaningful Use. The KY-REC continues to seek opportunities to promote Meaningful Use and facilitate health care providers in obtaining federal assistance to move into the future of health information sharing.

It is great to see the success of the KY-REC. As the healthcare industry continues to rely more and more on technology to improve outcomes, it's nice to know our team is ahead of the game!

For more information about the KY-REC, visit  

The map below shows how many provider the KY-REC has signed per region.


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