May 26, 2022

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Marion Co., West Virginia, Health Dept. to start using WVU Medicine’s electronic medical records system |

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WV News) — The Marion County Health Department has been chosen to join Epic, WVU Health System’s electronic medical records system, with hopes of being part of the system by the end of the year.

Health Department Administrator Lloyd White said that after meeting with WVU Medicine officials, including President and CEO Albert Wright, discussions began about including the health department in the health-care provider’s records system.

“We’ve been looking at electronic medical records for a while,” White said. “They are very costly. Not only do you have an initial investment, you have ongoing costs. We’ve realized that so many of our patients here attend either WVU hospitals for medical care or their physicians in the area. … It (Epic) helps tremendously from a case management perspective. It’s a great system and it’s encompassing. …

“It’s a win-win situation, and we’re so appreciative of WVU Medicine for allowing us to be a part of the Epic system, and they’re giving it to us pretty much at their cost. It’s tremendous, and it shows Albert Wright and WVU’s commitment to quality medical care for all citizens who may use their facilities.”

Through Epic, the health department will be able to schedule patient appointments, construct a billing module and more.

Meagan Payne, the health department’s director of nursing, said she’s excited about the partnership.

“Basically, it’s one patient with one chart, and it provides continuity of care and expedited service,” Payne said. “If you come here and get your COVID shot or flu shot, your primary care physician is going to be able to see that. There is not an electronic medical record that exists for public health that is statewide yet. So, we’ll use Epic and see how it works. Hopefully, in the future, it will progress statewide.”

While the health department won’t be part of the Epic system for another few months, it’s still dealing heavily with the COVID-19 pandemic every day. Last week alone, the department tested nearly 300 people for the novel coronavirus, and Payne pointed out that many who are getting tested have not yet been vaccinated.

“Vaccine uptake is down. Testing is up. But as I’m going through and registering people, they are repeatedly not vaccinated. We’ll have some sprinkled in who are vaccinated, but not a lot. Talk to me. What can I do to help you? Is there anything that can be done to sway your decision? I’m literally begging people to come get vaccinated,” Payne said.

The health department has made testing easier by allowing people to pre-register at home; then they can just scan a QR code at the drive-thru clinic before getting their test and leaving. Those interested can preregister online at

Marion County’s vaccination rate and the state’s remain a problem, especially since state officials revealed earlier this week that some West Virginia vaccination data had been counted twice, meaning the vaccination rate is lower than previously reported.

“It’s disappointing because we look at the data and say, ‘We’re getting closer to herd immunity,’ White said. “And it serves as motivation and says that we are making progress. We see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then, when you find out the data is skewed or not accurate, it’s frustrating or disappointing because now you’re not as far along as you perhaps thought you were. All of us want this pandemic to be over.”

Fairmont News Editor John Mark Shaver can be reached at 304-844-8485 or [email protected]