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Kentucky's Medical Community Works to Move Forward with Paperless Care

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Computer based record keeping continues to grow within Kentucky medical community. Kentucky’s Health Information Exchange is the organization charged with coordinating this electronic data. State Health I.T. Coordinator Polly Mullins-Bentley says 65 out of 100 acute care hospitals are tied into the system. 

She says there are more than 1,000 medical provider locations actively connected. Mullins-Bentley admits it’s hard to say how many doctors are not on board yet.

“And that includes one doc shops, small offices, large clinics, large physician offices.  Cause, it’s all over the board, ok.  So, percentage, it’s just really difficult for me to say,” Mullins-Bentley says.

She adds the number of doctors tapped into the Health Information Exchange is probably still short of 50 percent. 

Kentucky’s public health commissioner believes the benefits of ‘paperless medical record keeping’ far outweigh any pitfalls. Officials with the state’s Health Information Exchange brought an update to lawmakers recently.  Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield Gibson cites a case where a patient received some medical care far away from home.

 “And the doctor said ‘what happened to you a few days ago out in California?’ and he said ‘doc, I can’t remember, but they did a lot of tests.  I think I had a heart cath, I don’t know.  The labs on that particular patient looked terrible, so that provider called California to get the records on that patient and they said, ‘I’m sorry out medical records are closed at this time,” Mayfield Gibson says.

For those providers who are fully involved in electronic medical record keeping, Mayfield Gibson says they wouldn’t want to go back to a paper based system.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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