National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. Karen DeSalvo applauded Vermont’s efforts to continue building a health information exchange (HIE) infrastructure that includes broadband access in rural areas of the state while speaking at the annual Vermont Information Technology Leadership (WITL) summit this week. With very high EHR adoption rates among hospitals and physician providers and a long-term effort to bring HIE capabilities to the state’s healthcare organizations, DeSalvo held up Vermont as an example to the nation during her keynote address.
“People are willing to share their data if it will improve their care and will help others, as long as it doesn’t lead to discrimination against them,” said DeSalvo while discussing the state’s 90% patient consent rate to be involved in the VITL Access health information portal, which began rolling out to providers in August. Ninety-three percent of the state’s hospitals and 64 percent of primary care organizations have adopted the HIE technology, the Burlington Free Press reports.
VITL also provides Direct messaging services and is working to bring admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) notifications to providers later in the year. “This fall is really going to see nine years of work come to fruition, and the hopes and dreams of a statewide information system actually being available,” said Paul Harrington, executive director of the Vermont Medical Society.
At the end of 2013, VITL completed a successful pilot with Fletcher Allen Health Care that tested the exchange of radiology reports. “Hospitals generate volumes of clinical data that can be critically relevant for treating patients in order to enhance care, so it is invaluable for providers to have immediate access to patient health information, especially at the point of care,” said John K. Evans, CEO of VITL at the time. “What we learned through the pilot is that the development time of these interfaces can be dramatically improved by expediting decisions related to specifications and testing.”
Vermont has been at the forefront of EHR adoption and has achieved nearly universal implementation rates, with all 14 of the state’s hospitals and 97% of primary care practices now live on an EHR. VITL also functions as the state’s regional extension center (REC) and has helped numerous providers to implement technology and achieve meaningful use.