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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 07 June 2006

Gov. Ted Kulongoski

Oregon will seek $26.5 million from Congress to create an electronic health information network in Oregon.

The money would pay for installation of electronic health records systems in more than 4,000 doctors' offices across the state.

The network would prioritize patient privacy "in a single, connected system," Gov. Ted Kulongoski told a meeting of health care professionals, educators and public officials at Oregon Health and Science University.

"We want to ensure that all our citizens' health records are available to them and their health care providers anytime and anywhere and that those health records are confidential and secure at all times."

Oregon will participate in a national program to assess how privacy and security safeguards affect the electronic exchange of information, he said. The state has a contract with the National Governors Association that provides $349,000 to engage a broad group of medical professionals in Oregon with the other 34 states participating in the project.

Guiding the project in Oregon will be Jody Pettit, the state's newly appointed health information technology coordinator. Pettit chaired the state Electronic Health Records and Healthcare Connectivity Subcommittee under the Oregon Health Policy Commission in 2005.

The commission endorsed the subcommittee's recommendation to promote use of electronic medical records and the exchange of health information across the state.

Pettit also directs the Oregon Health Information Infrastructure project of the Oregon Healthcare Quality Corp., which has a goal to build a regional health information organization in Oregon.

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