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Commissioners OK new health records system

Profile image for By Bj Lewis
By Bj Lewis

Paper records are finally on their way out of Denton County health services.

A new $95,000 records management system approved by county commissioners will consolidate records for easy access by all health services departments, including that of the jail, and help keep the county in state compliance.

“Currently, jail health uses an electronic system that has been in place for years. The health department clinics, however, are still paper charts,” said Matt Richardson, executive director of the county health department. “This new electronic health record will be the first system to combine our clinic functions into one place to eliminate the need for paper charts.”

Richardson said examples of these records include tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, primary care and expanded primary care for women. All of these clinics will soon be in one application where staff can link patient records and keep records of visits, lab tests and provider notes together.

The system will also track which health department employee accessed which patient on what date.

“It’s what all clinics, hospitals, doctor’s offices, what everyone is striving for, so we can maintain data integrity,” Richardson said.

He said he was excited about the user-friendly nature of the program and how it allows users to customize how they interact with patients, helping time follow-ups, and the software can generate forms to be submitted to the state and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s a very efficient, effective tool at the cutting edge of clinic management,” he said.

The company providing the software, eClinicalWorks, is the same one Richardson dealt with in his pre-Denton County position of Amarillo city health director.

“They are one of the leaders in the industry,” Richardson said. “A well-known company with lots of experience in health departments, most notably, New York state.”

Even though the bid process happened before Richardson’s arrival, he was pleased eClinicalWorks was selected.

The next move is purchasing information technology hardware, buying computer servers and equipment that has to be in place before the records system can be integrated into the county.

“We’re just eagerly awaiting the contract negotiations to finalize, hardware purchase, training. ... We will try to go live in a few months,” he said.