LITTLE ROCK - Governor Mike Beebe today announced that Ancil Lea of Conway will be the new Coordinator for the Arkansas Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT).

The office leads the statewide effort to improve the development and use of electronic health records. Health information technology is a key component for improving care in the state, making it more efficient and cost-effective.

The appointment comes after Ray Scott, the current OHIT Coordinator, informed Governor Beebe of his intention to retire at the end of this year. Beebe chose Scott to be OHIT's first Coordinator in 2010. During Scott's public-service career, he served in a variety of appointed positions, beginning with Governor Dale Bumpers in 1973, and his career spans the administrations of seven different governors. Scott will work with Lea on a smooth transition in the coming months.

Lea, 49, is currently the executive director of HITArkansas, a regional extension of health information efforts through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, he has also worked in medical technology sales and in academic outreach at the University of Central Arkansas.