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Health center awarded electronic health records grant

St. Francois County Health Center will soon be implementing an Electronic Health Record system that is being paid for by a $743,470 Missouri Foundation for Health grant. There are 13 other local public health agencies in southeast Missouri that will be doing the same.

St. Francois County Health Center is one of 14 local public health agencies in southeast Missouri implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system as part of a $743,470 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH).

In addition to St. Francois, participating counties in the grant include Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Iron, New Madrid, Mississippi, Pemiscot, Ste. Genevieve, Scott, Stoddard, Ripley and Washington.

Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center will be taking the lead on the five year, multi-county MFH grant. The Missouri Foundation for Health is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health.

An independent philanthropic foundation, MFH was created in the year 2000, following Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri’s conversion from nonprofit to for-profit status. It is the largest organization of its kind in the state and among the largest in the country.

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“There are not many county health departments in Missouri currently using electronic health records largely due to cost not because it isn’t needed,” St. Francois County Health Center Director Jessica McKnight said. “We applied for the grant because as a group we were looking towards the future and there are many benefits that EHR can offer us; helping us work more efficiently and giving us access to more data that will help us address the needs of the community.”

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history making information available instantly and securely to authorized users. The information is maintained by the provider over time, and may include all of the key administrative clinical data relevant to that persons care under a particular provider, including demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports. The EHR automates access to information and has the potential to streamline a provider’s workflow, increase accuracy and reduce errors.

“This grant was a perfect opportunity for us to do what we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do,” McKnight added. “We just ask that the public bears with us as our staff learns the new system.”

St Francois County Health Center will be open throughout the implementation process, but will not be providing any nursing services September 18-20 while staff is in training. This includes immunizations, STD testing, TB skin tests, and head checks. The public is encouraged to call the health center at 573-431-1947 if there are any questions about service availability.

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