With the goal of accelerating the state's use of electronic medical records, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano signed an executive order Wednesday creating the Arizona Health-e Connection, a 39-member board charged with developing a plan to build the state's healthcare information technology infrastructure.
According to the Arizona Republic, over the next six months the panel will work to ensure patient privacy, identify possible funding sources and develop technical standards. Its members include the leaders of hospitals, medical associations, insurance companies and the state's major employers.
"An interoperable electronic health system will improve the quality and reduce the cost of healthcare in Arizona," Napolitano said in a statement. She added that her goal is to get widespread adoption of EMRs by 2010 -- four years earlier than the federal goal set by President Bush.
Appointments to a similar panel were announced Aug. 22 by Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher, M.D. The Kentucky e-Health Network Board was created by state legislation signed into law on March 8 by Fletcher. Its purpose is to develop a secure statewide electronic network to access and transfer healthcare information.