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Published December 09, 2010, 12:00 AM

Sanford Health hiring 130 employees

Sanford Health is in the midst of hiring 130 new employees to carry out a new electronic medical records system that will inject $35 million into the Fargo-Moorhead area.

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

Sanford Health is in the midst of hiring 130 new employees to carry out a new electronic medical records system that will inject $35 million into the Fargo-Moorhead area.

The initiative will be phased in over several years and the jobs, including salaries and benefits, will range from the mid-$40,000s to $80,000 a year, Craig Hewitt, Sanford’s chief technology officer, said Wednesday.

For patients, the system will allow access to medical test results and the ability to make appointments. It also will mean a single medical record for all medications, diagnostic tests and clinical documentation.

“Everything will be interconnected,” said Hewitt. “It’s just going to afford a lot more options so people have more control over their care.”

Many staff associated with the electronic medical records system will be housed in the 45th Street Business Center in Fargo.

Also, the Sanford Health region around Sioux Falls, S.D., will hire 10 new staff members for the work.

Sanford already had ramped up staff to make the switch to the Epic electronic medical records system before it merged last year with MeritCare.

The records system, which will be used by all of the health system’s sites, will be implemented in phases starting next year and continuing through 2012 and possibly into 2013, said Hewitt, who also is a senior vice president for information technology for Sanford’s Fargo region.

“It’s really a complex series of services that are glued together,” Hewitt said.

Sanford recently held a “mini jobs fair” with employees who were laid off by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, with a special emphasis on information technology positions, Sanford spokesman Darren Huber said.

So far about 70 positions have been filled, and another 40 open positions recently were announced.

Openings include information technology positions as well as clinical information positions. Additional hires are expected in the years ahead.

The cost should be recouped from federal programs, including the stimulus package, Hewlett said. Ultimately, through increased efficiency and elimination of duplicated diagnostic tests, the investment should save money, he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

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