Health care providers from across the United States were recently recognized for their successful implementation of electronic health record (EHR) technology at The White House Health IT Town Hall meeting in Washington, D.C.
At the town hall meeting, senior White House officials and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services staff along with fellow health care providers discussed progress and barriers on the road toward a national health IT system. Among the providers attending the meeting was Harlan resident Dr. Carl Smith Jr.
“My office was the first small medical office in Harlan County and the state to implement electronic medical record technology,” said Smith. “Because of this technology, we can send the patient’s prescription electronically by secure email to pharmacies. We can check medical histories, what diseases or medical conditions are trending in the area, and I can voice activate details of the patient’s visit into their record. We can also give patients clinical summaries when they leave our office. We have proved to national governing bodies we can and are doing this.”
Smith said the national government knows the idea of everyone having electronic medical record is a very expense process and one of the things White House officials wanted to know was how it is being implemented in an impoverished area.
“When I opened my office here in Harlan in 1994, I wanted to start with electronic medical record, but then it was so expensive I wasn’t able to,” said Smith. “Finally in January 2003, we were able to accomplish this technology and convert to electronic medical records full time. I could not have done this without the help of my wonderful staff, Peggy Smith, office manager, registered nurses Julie Lewis and Gwen Hensley, April Johnson, licensed practical nurse and Shelia Creech, medical assistant.”
Smith said with the use of electronic medical record if you were in an automobile wreck anywhere in the United States, doctors will be able to access your medical history to see what medications you take, allergies and other pertinent information. He said this will especially be helpful if the patient was unconscious and unable to provide information.
“It was an honor to have been chosen to attend this meeting at The White House,” said Smith. “Not only do I feel I contributed to ways to improve patient care and health in my community, but I came away with information from colleagues from across the nation about their challenges also.”
A medical school graduate at the University of Kentucky, Smith practiced medicine in Pikeville until 1990. He then moved to Albuquerque, N. M. where he practiced for approximately five years before returning to Harlan County in 1994.
“I returned to Harlan County because I felt it was God’s calling and a pediatric doctor was needed for the area,” said Smith. “Also, my family was here.”
An avid outdoorsman, Smith loves to golf, swim and sing in a barbershop quartet with his father, Carl Smith Sr., along with Terry Harris and Dr. Fred Howard. Performing at a boys and girls basketball games in Rupp Arena have been one of the highlights of this group.
“We have performed at many events throughout Kentucky and the county,” said Smith. “It’s something I’m proud to be a part of.”
Smith and his wife, Stephanie, have three children.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org