Transformation Of Arkansas' Health Care System

by Dr. Joe Thompson, ACHI/Arkansas Surgeon General  on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 12:00 am  

Dr. Joe Thompson

Spending in Arkansas’ Medicaid program remained almost flat in the last quarter of the same year the APII was launched, capping a year in which the expenditures grew at their slowest pace in three decades. For more information on APII visit

Health Information Technology

In 2009, Arkansas began planning a coordinated health information technology system including statewide adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and development of the

State Health Alliance for Records Exchange (SHARE). This system will help improve the quality of care as those providing medical services to patients will have secure, real-time access to patients’ health records from anywhere patients have been treated. The patient experience will be improved and costs will be controlled by avoiding duplicate testing and procedures. With more than 3,000 primary care providers and hospitals now committed to EHR adoption, we have exceeded our recruitment goal by nearly 50 percent. As of July 2013, five hospitals, 39 community health centers, nine behavioral health entities and 10 physician practices are using or implementing SHARE with almost 500,000 Arkansans benefiting from increased information for their clinicians. For more information visit and

The national gaze has been focused on Arkansas as we continue implementation of innovations that may serve as a model for other states wrestling with the need for system transformation.

While some providers and patients have already experienced the positive impact of our efforts and costs are beginning to show containment, full realization of a transformed health care system will take time.

There are bound to be some bumps along the way, especially as we launch the highly intricate new Health Insurance Marketplace. In the meantime, significant progress has been made in lockstep with increased health care coverage that will begin on Jan. 1.

We have stakeholders across the state committed to working together to complete the shared vision of a healthier and more productive Arkansas with a sustainable health care system that will truly meet the needs of our citizens. 



Please read our comments policy before commenting.