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UPDATE: NHRMC moves to electronic patient records

READ MORE: UPDATE: NHRMC moves to electronic patient records
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The new online health record system, NHRMC Connect, successfully launched Saturday at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

A spokesperson for the hospital says the staff transitioned seamlessly over the weekend with the new operating system. New Hanover Regional Medical Center says the training that the care givers received prior to the Epic-operating system's launch seems to have been worth the time and effort.

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The way doctors access your medical records may soon change. But what will it mean for you?

New Hanover Regional Medical Center is hoping to better connect with their patients thanks to a new electronic health records system, NHRMC Connect, which is going online Saturday. The new system allows doctors to access health records almost immediately by plugging into the database.

"We're going to be doing order entry in the process, but it also will give them access to information from home that they can get some of their test results and other opportunities, but also, if it's in their chart, if they're at another EPIC hospital, that information will be there," NHRMC CEO Jack Barto said.

Barto says with change comes anxiety, but the staff at the hospital is well trained and capable of providing the best healthcare possible.

"Remember, we know how to take care of patients," he said. "We're still going to take care of patients on an everyday basis. It's the way we document that that's changing."

Staff has trained for months to ensure they understand the new system and can use it efficiently.

After the information is entered, it will be accessible at all the organizations connected.

"The best thing that the patient can expect is that the first time you enter your information into our system, that information will carry through the entire organization," NHRMC Connect Program Director Heather Thorton said.

There may be speed bumps with the streamlining, but the hospital is confident the move is the best for the area.

The hospital says your information is safe within the system. It is only accessible by providers and you with access codes, much like electronic banking.

You may find the first time you go to the hospital under the new system your visit takes longer, but administrators say subsequent visits will be easier once you're in the system.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Are patient records secure?

Only medical personnel involved in a patient's treatment have access to his or her health record. All health records and information related to the care and treatment of any patient are protected under the regulations established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The NHRMC Connect electronic health record system is encrypted and accessible only to authorized individuals through a secure login name and password. Firewalls, passwords, encrypton and audit trails are further used to safeguard patient information.

NHRMC Information Technology Team

I have no doubt that you

I have no doubt that you have put as many safeguards in place that you think necessary, but don't kid yourself, it can and probably will be hacked into sometime. Many U S Government agencies have been hacked and I am certain they had plenty of firewalls and such in place. What about thousasnds of social security numbers that have been stolen? I know 2 people right now that I believe could be into your system in a short while.

Electronic Records

Great move NHRMC should help speed up the administrative woes.

Should also provide hackers

Should also provide hackers with a wealth of private information that they will use for God only knows what. Some things are better kept on paper.

When time is pressing.......

Paper too slow.....

You don't have a clue

Unlike the other places that you've probably given out information that can be used for identity theft, I believe they likely have the security of this well controlled.

It's the 21st century, and "big brother" is definitely watching. This, fortunately, is one of those things that is more likely to help you than hurt you.

Based on what was said in the original story, as well as what the NHRMC commenter said, the data is encrypted on the server / datastore. This means even if someone has physical access to the computer server, they cannot retrieve the information. This contrast this with prior reports of US / State government employees losing computers / disks / hard drives with information (unencrypted) useful for identity theft. Also, how many places have you given your name, DOB, address and social security number to? Doctors offices, car dealers, pawn shops, banks, employers, tax preparers? Alot of these put your data in some sort of database with really no security controls. This is just for where your data is stored.

One of the other big things mentioned by the NHRMC commenter is access controls and audit trails. Access controls are "who is permitted to access what data". That might involve user names, passwords, client certificates, as well as possibly hardware devices assigned to individual users where even if someone non-authorized were to have a user's username and password, access is impossible without the additional authentication. Audit trails are a big one. They are able to go back in time and determine who - what individual - accessed a given patient's data, and when. That might translate to "why" -such as, "was a specific individual providing care for person x". If not, why was access made. That's generally a global thing - meaning even at another facility, access is logged, and reportable. Illegal access can be a criminal offense. You can be sure anyone accessing it for legitimate reasons is real careful about what they do with anything they print. BTW: The insurance companies already have access to anything that they will be storing in an EMR system anyway.

Your preferred method of "Some things are better kept on paper" is nowhere near as secure as this system. What is there to stop someone in the right place for passing along or copying info for a price?

Granted, you are talking about health related information here in addition to things useful for identity theft. For me personally, there's nothing in my health record that I could really care about anyone finding out. I'm alot more concerned about the part of my heath record that is usable for identity theft.

If you have ever given blood, there's a ton of info available in their database, and it's completely electronic. If you were to ever be deferred for one of the many tests that they do on your blood after you give, that will be in that database.

You personal information is out there for authorized personnel in a multitude of ways. An example occurs every time you're riding down the road and cop decides to run your plate. Much of that private info that you are worried about keeping on paper shows up on that laptop about a 3 seconds after the cop puts your tag number in. Granted, he won't know that you had your tonsils out, but he will know a bunch of data. There's an audit trail for that too, and it does prevent misuse.