When Mary Kay White was hired as the records clerk for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department 15 years ago, things were much different. There were no electronic medical records and the Health Department was located across the street inside an old wing at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, which has since been torn down.
Mary Kay said the space was much smaller and she won’t soon forget the closet where the records were kept. “It was hot in there, you would just sweat profusely,” she said. "It was pretty awful."
A couple of years later, in 1999, the Health Department moved to its current location inside the Community Health Facility at 200 Maine and Mary Kay became a clinic office assistant. She learned to do the variety of tasks she does today, which includes helping clients as they check in and out of the clinic, answering phone calls, making appointments and updating medical records. She also assists clients enrolled in WIC, a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The Health Department clinic sees about 80 patients daily.
“It’s never boring,” Mary Kay said of her job. “That’s why I like it here. We are busy and there are a lot of things going on.”
Mary Kay said one of the biggest changes and challenges in her job has been learning and using the new electronic medical record system, which was implemented Jan. 2. She was one of the designated “super users” of the system and trained staff members how to use it. “The first day was a little rough, but we are getting through it,” she said with a chuckle. “It will be better once we all get in our little groove. There will be no more handwriting notes and charts. It will all be in the system.”
Mary Kay said working with the clinic’s clients is rewarding. “Sometimes you have a young mom who is just having a bad day and she just wants to share that with you and so you listen and talk to her,” she said. “You get to know some of them and it’s really neat.”