January 2, 2014

2013 Top Story Review

Reaching out with healing hands

Telemedicine brings improved care to MHA communities

By Jerry W. Kram

It doesn’t take a Christopher Columbus to figure out that it’s a long way from Twin Buttes to New Town, especially when you’re battling construction and oilfield traffic. It’s long been a concern of residents there and in the other outlying communities of the Fort Berthold Reservation that they were being shortchanged because of the concentration of health care services in New Town.

In August, the Elbowoods Memorial Clinic demonstrated a telemedicine network that will allow a tribal member anywhere on the reservation to "see" a doctor any day of the week. Currently, said Dr. Zane Rising Son, Elbowoods’ medical director, a doctor is at the satellite clinics just one or two days a week.

Telemedicine is a system that allows a physician access to all of the information he would normally have by being in the room with a patient, except for touch. A nurse at the satellite clinic can examine a patient and the doctor can see, hear or get the readings from whatever instrument is being used. So, said Dr. Rising Sun, he can listen to a patients breath and heartbeat just like he was holding the stethoscope himself.

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