WV County Health Department Begins Epic EHR Implementation

Marion County Health Department has announced its Epic EHR implementation set to improve interoperability for better care coordination.

With help from West Virginia University (WVU) Medicine, Marion County Health Department has begun an Epic EHR implementation that aims to better interoperability for improved care coordination, The Fairmont News reports.

The cloud-based EHR implementation is set to improve the continuity of care by merging medical records that currently exist across multiple platforms and improving data exchange, the publication stated.

Marion County Health Department is the first public health organization to go forward with an Epic EHR adoption in West Virginia.

The implementation will also give providers increased access to medical records and better transparency regarding a patient’s medical history.

“Basically, it’s like organizing everything into one filing cabinet. All of those aspects of your medical life are organized into one place. It increases access and availability,” Meagan Payne, director of nursing at Marion County Health Department, told The Fairmont News.

Under this new system, all health visits to the department will be entered into an online medical record for that patient.

For better interoperability, patient medical records will be synced with the MyChart patient portal system of WVU Medicine, one of the largest healthcare organizations in the state. 

“WVU Medicine is a large part of healthcare in this state, so why wouldn’t we go somewhere people’ information already is, and it can be easily found and accessed,” Payne Stated.

Patients can access and view all the services they received at Marion County Health Department within the patient portal and share that information with future providers, the press release explained.

“It provides us with meaningful data and a way to have compliance,” Payne stated. “At the heart of this is patient safety. Everything that we do, we have patient safety in mind, as well as a quality measure and evidence-based interventions and practices. It also provides structure. You go to one system. You don’t go to 10-15 different sites, so you don’t get lost in multiple systems.”

Payne explained that this system allows for better inventory control; providers can enter patient information in a system without worrying if the data will get deleted.

“It’ll allow us to do more, and our long-range plans are to do more preventative services,” Lloyd White, Marion County Health Department Administrator, said told The Fairmont News.

“In another example, someone can come in here and well check their blood sugar. We can identify them as pre-diabetic. The goal is to keep them there through education and other interventions and then reduce that to where they’re no longer pre-diabetic…It’s really all about extending the quality of life to fold and let them not only live longer but healthier,” White continued.

Payne explained the EHR adoption may help the organization achieve its future goal of expanding its long-term preventive services for patients, Payne added.

“It’s a way to expand and contract for clinical and preventative services, providing custom-tailored fit. We’re looking forward to the future of public health expanding into population health, proving long-term relevance and sustainability. That is something that does not exist in West Virginia public health,” Payne said.

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