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February 12, 2010

Governor Quinn Announces $18.8 Million in Federal Funds for Electronic Health Records Efforts
Signs Executive Order to Create Office of Health Information Technology

CHICAGO – February 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois will receive $18.8 million in federal funds to develop a statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE), which will allow Illinois’ healthcare providers to electronically share health information. To lead this effort Governor Quinn signed an Executive Order to create the Illinois Office of Health Information Technology.

“Electronic health records are the future of healthcare in America,” said Governor Quinn. “The Office of Health Information Technology and this important federal investment will ensure that Illinois is at the forefront of developing and implementing this technology that is critical to improving our healthcare system.”

Executive Order 2010-1 creates the Illinois Office of Health Information Technology. The new office will be funded by the federal grant and housed in the Governor’s Office. The office will develop and implement the state’s health information technology initiatives, including the creation of the statewide HIE.

The HIE will allow health providers across the state to securely share and access vital health information electronically, reducing medical errors and improving patient care coordination. Providers will be able to share health information such as electronic medical records, insurance claims and prescription records. The HIE allows patients to receive a higher quality of care and leads to better health outcomes. It also offers many other benefits, including better controlled healthcare costs, reduced health disparities and decreased paper usage.

Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) sponsored legislation in 2005 that created the Electronic Health Records Task Force.

“I’m proud to have led the effort several years ago to make electronic health records an Illinois state policy. We always recognized that we needed leadership in the Governor’s office and funding from the Federal Government in order to fully realize the benefits of a fully integrated Electronic Health Records system,” said Rep. Hamos. “With both of those important components now in place, I am pleased that we are launching an important new effort that will provide higher quality care through reduced medical errors and costs.”

The federal funding is authorized through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA), State Grants to Promote Health Information Technology and Implementation Projects. The ARRA dedicated more than $20 billion to develop a nationwide electronic health records exchange by 2014.

The Office of Health Information Technology will also collaborate with the two ARRA-funded Regional Extension Centers in Illinois, which are led by Northern Illinois University and Northwestern University. The centers will provide technical assistance and outreach to primary care providers and hospitals throughout Illinois to help them adopt electronic health records.

For more information please visit www.hie.illinois.gov.


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