WHEREAS all Californians should have all appropriate personal health information available to them, and also to their treating professionals in the medical office, hospital, pharmacy or emergency room; and

WHEREAS the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the need for timely, secure and accessible health information, particularly for our nation’s most vulnerable – elderly, disabled, and low income populations – and the potentially life-threatening effects of that failure; and

WHEREAS the control of health care costs is key to a long-term strategy of reducing State expenditures and maintaining the ability of California’s large and small employers to provide health care coverage to their employees; and

WHEREAS health information technology offers great promise as one means of enabling a goal of affordable, safe and accessible healthcare in California by: (1) ensuring health information is available at the point of care for all patients while protecting the confidentiality and privacy of the information; (2) improving safety, reducing medical errors and avoiding duplicative and unnecessary medical procedures; (3) improving coordination of care among hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, home care agencies, pharmacies, physicians and other health professionals; (4) providing consumers with their own health information to encourage greater participation in their health care decisions; and (5) ensuring access to specialists in a more timely manner for rural and underserved areas through technologies such as telemedicine; and

WHEREAS the federal Department of Health and Human Services estimates that, in addition to improving the quality of chronic care management and reducing errors, increasing health information technology could reduce duplicative care and lower health care administrative costs, achieving potential savings of $140 billion per year or close to 10% of total health spending in the United States; and

WHEREAS California has established a goal to achieve 100% electronic health data exchange among payers, health care providers, consumers of health care, researchers, and government agencies in the next 10 years; and

WHEREAS State leadership can promote and encourage legislative and regulatory actions, encourage coordinated efforts in the private health care sector, further public and private partnerships for the development of a statewide health information infrastructure, and maximize federal and regional financial participation to support the goal of adopting an eHealth information infrastructure; and

WHEREAS California and other states should collaborate and assume a leadership role nationally in the establishment of health information technology standards and implementation priorities; and

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that agencies under my direct executive authority shall ooperate in the implementation of this Order. Other entities of State government not under my direct executive authority, including the Insurance Commissioner, the University of California, the California State University, California Community Colleges, constitutional officers, and legislative and judicial branches are requested to assist in its implementation. In particular, the California Public Employees Retirement System is the major purchaser of health care for State active and retired employees and is in a unique position to facilitate the use of health information technology in the delivery of care. Therefore, the California Public Employees Retirement System is requested to participate in the Forum and assist the Secretaries and the Chief Information Officer in the implementation of this Order.

This Order is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California, its departments, agencies, or other entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that soon as hereafter possible, this Order shall be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice shall be given to this Order.