Dr. Roxane Townsend, Medicaid Medical Director for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, will serve as one of several featured speakers at the upcoming eHealth Conference in Baton Rouge.

The conference is scheduled for April 27 and 28 in the Baton Rouge River Center.

This conference brings together leaders in the field of health care information technology to talk about moving the state’s health care system into the digital age. It is co-hosted by the Louisiana eHealth Initiative and the Louisiana chapter of the Health Information Management Systems Society.

As a component of its health care reform efforts, the Department of Health has taken a leadership role in creating a comprehensive electronic health information network. Such a network will one day allow doctors, hospitals, clinics, emergency responders and other medical professionals to easily share medical information that allows for more effective and coordinated treatment. Dr. Townsend has led DHH’s efforts in this area.

Mike Stagg, conference co-chairman, said the conference will highlight several practices and approaches that are building the foundation for e-health care in the 21st century.

“We are honored to have experts such as Dr. Townsend participate in the Louisiana eHealth Conference,” he said. “The efforts that are already underway at LDH will serve to illustrate to others what can be done.

Dr. Townsend was recently selected as one of this year’s top executives from government, industry and academia. She was chosen by the Federal 100, as one of the government officials who had the greatest impact on government information systems in 2005. She was selected by an independent panel of judges based on planning for the electronic health information system. She was recognized for her work to help develop KatrinaHealth.org, an online service that helped evacuees get their prescriptions filled, and for caring for patients at the Superdome before and after the hurricane flooded New Orleans.

Other speakers include Dr. Carol Diamond of the Markle Foundation's Connecting for Health program; Jan Walker of the Center for Information Technology Leadership; Patricia Wise of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society; Joel Slackman of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s Office of Policy and Representation; and Susan Christensen of the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality.

Online registration for the conference, which includes meals and admission to all sessions, is now open. Admission to the conference is $100. In addition, there will be a reception at the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion on the evening of April 27.