Robert J. Esterhay, M.D., is associate professor and former chair of the Department for Health Management and Systems Sciences in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences at the University of Louisville. His academic and professional interests and activities are in networks for health as they apply to individuals, organizations, and networks themselves. He has been at the informatics crossroads of individual health, health care, and population health for more than 35 years in his education, work experience, and academic settings.
His 1969 medical school thesis involved computer-assisted learning utilizing computer-simulated patients for training medical students, medical residents, and medical school faculty. This work was completed prior to personal computers, the Internet, and the World Wide Web. In the mid-1970s, he led an early implementation of an electronic medical record information system at the University of Maryland Cancer Center (at that time, part of the NIH, National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Treatment).
Some of his accomplishments include: serving as a member of the Kentucky TeleHealth Network Board; serving as the first co-chair of the Kentucky e-Health Board; analyzing community health information exchanges (HIEs) funded by the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation, and using the developed governance model to create the Louisville HIE.