Joplin Tornado Coordinator to Speak at South Dakota's Largest Health IT Event

When Joplin, Missouri suffered a F-5 tornado earlier this year, St. John's Medical Center was devastated. The story was covered internationally, with many images showing how St. John's lost its top two floors and where every window was shattered.  Amidst the structural damage, medical equipment and patient charts were destroyed or lost during the horrific storm, so Ron Fovargue, Vice President of Technology for St. John's healthcare system, was called in to help coordinate the recovery efforts.  Due to their use of technology and their recent electronic health records (EHR) implementation, patient charts were accessible.

After an opening welcome by Secretary Doneen Hollingsworth, Fovargue will be sharing his experiences and knowledge at this year's 4th Annual South Dakota eHealth Summit.  The conference will be held in Sioux Falls this Monday at the Holiday Inn City Centre.  The all-day event will feature health information technology experts from across the nation and is the largest event of its kind in South Dakota. 

"This conference will bring together local, regional, and national innovators in the adoption and integration of Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange," said Kevin DeWald, the state's Health Information Technology Coordinator.  "We plan to create an opportunity to exchange ideas and information from hospitals, provider offices, and other professionals to foster new ways to use technology to change the way health care is delivered."

The conference is being supported by numerous resource groups within the state in addition to Dakota State University, including the Department of Health, HealthPOINT (South Dakota's Regional Extension Center), the Department of Social Services, the South Dakota State Medical Association and the South Dakota Association of Health Care Organizations.  Several EHR vendors and related equipment suppliers will be part of the event's exhibitor exposition. 

Attendees at the conference will come from all over South Dakota in an effort to learn the latest in electronic health record best practices.  It is the goal for all healthcare providers to become meaningful users of EHR technology by 2015 to avoid reimbursement reductions.  The implementation at healthcare facilities will usher in a statewide health information exchange allowing patients and their providers access to their medical records electronically.  EHR's will help reduce costs, eliminate redundant processes and improve safety

The conference begins at 8 AM with registration and breakfast starting at 7 AM.  After presentations throughout the day, the conference will conclude at 4:30 PM after a panel discussion on the day's key points.

About HealthPOINT

HealthPOINT, as part of Dakota State University, is South Dakota's Regional Extension Center. As a federally designated health information technology resource and support center for all South Dakota healthcare providers, HealthPOINT focuses on an action-based approach to propel providers in adopting electronic health record systems.

CONTACT: For media interviews with Fovargue and any of the speakers, please contact Jeff Pickett, HealthPOINT Marketing/Training Coordinator: or call 605-360-7842.

Last Updated: 1/10/12