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        Since the implementation of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), the Wishek Hospital and Clinics has undergone a massive transition in the way patient information is recorded and filed.  This was the first of many steps for the WHC that are now available for a more direct and faster way medical providers can access patient records.  The next step is the North Dakota Health Information Network (NDHIN).
        Through the NDHIN, medical providers can now exchange patient health information through Direct Secure Messaging, a highly secure email system.  Patient medications, allergies, lab results, medical history, immunization records, and referrals can be sent instantly from one provider to another.  According to their website,, NDHIN guarantees a better medical experience for doctors and patients, “We help you reduce duplicate medical tests, avoid loss of information and allow your doctor to make more informed decisions.”  Currently, 150 North Dakota healthcare organizations are part of the network, and approximately 800 users are enrolled in NDHIN Direct.
        Kari Buchholz, WHC Director of Health Information Management, sees the NDHIN as a big benefit for our hospital and clinics.  She gave an example of a doctor in Arizona being able to access the medical records of a snow-bird WHC patient.  As the patient sits in the exam room, the doctor can get what he/she needs from that patient’s record via NDHIN within seconds.  “The North Dakota Health Information Network is improving healthcare and empowering you as a patient” said Kari.  “What excites me (about NDHIN) is the quality of care with improving healthcare and the accessibility for all North Dakotans anywhere and at anytime. The time it takes to get records, especially in an emergency situation, can be vital. The NDHIN will be able to be accessed immediately, eliminating waiting time for records to be sent,” says Kari.
        Another feature of the NDHIN is the Patient Portal, a secure website made for patients to view their personal health record at anytime.   Residents of North Dakota can create an account to have protected access to their own medical information once WHC launches the program.  While some may be concerned about the safety of their information with the new system, NDHIN assures that only authorized individuals within the medical system will have access.  The NDHIN offers many benefits, but patients also have the right to opt out.  

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