Dalrymple, Officials Launch North Dakota Health Information Network
BISMARCK, N.D. - Gov. Jack Dalrymple today joined state officials and members of the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC) to officially roll out the North Dakota Health Information Network (NDHIN), a system created to share health information by connecting physicians’ electronic health record (EHR) systems. Officials announced that a majority of North Dakota physicians, hospitals, public health units and long-term care facilities have health record systems that are capable of connecting with the statewide network and that several providers are already sharing information via the NDHIN.
“By strengthening the quality and accessibility of healthcare in our state, we enhance the livability of our communities and the quality of life of our people,” Dalrymple said. “Sharing electronic health records is an important part of those efforts, enhancing patient care while reducing healthcare costs.”
Dalrymple announced that North Dakota is first among all states in sharing health records according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with 83 percent of physicians utilizing electronic health record systems that are capable of connecting with the network. The national average is 48 percent.
This year, 100 percent of North Dakota hospitals have indicated they will go live with their EHR systems. In 2013, nearly half of the state’s long-term care facilities reported an active EHR system, with an additional 33 percent indicating they would go live within two years and half of North Dakota’s public health units indicated having, or were in the process of implementing, an EHR.
“This is an important investment in the quality of healthcare in North Dakota,” said Sheldon Wolf, NDHIN director. “The North Dakota Health Information Network allows providers secure access to the medical information necessary to provide quality healthcare anywhere and anytime.”
North Dakota’s Health Information Technology office was established in 2009 by the state Legislature. The HITAC was also established to make recommendations for implementing a statewide interoperable health information infrastructure. Since its inception, the state has invested $10 million in a revolving loan fund through the Bank of North Dakota to help providers develop systems compatible with the statewide network.
The initiative was funded by a federal grant of $5.3 million with a match provided by the state. The network went live earlier this year and will continue to expand over the next several years.
Dalrymple was joined by Sheldon Wolf, NDHIN director; McKenzie County Healthcare System CEO Dan Kelly; and Dr. Brandon Price, a physician with St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck.