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VT Health Information Exchange Makes Key External Connection

The Vermont HIE recently enabled its first external connection and brings VA patient data into its network.

Vermont HIE

Source: Thinkstock

- The operators of the Vermont Health Information Exchange are celebrating a successful connection to the Department of Veterans Affairs Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record.

Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc., which operates the Green Mountain State’s HIE teamed up with population health management solutions vendor Medicity to launch an external connection to Veterans HIE in an effort to improve health data access of former military personnel.

This marks the first network-to-network connection for VITL with VHIE. Bidirectional exchange will improve transitions of care between VA healthcare facilities and the community.

“We’re excited about this bi-directional exchange with the VA medical system,” said President and CEO of VITL John K. Evans. “Our organizations have been working for more than a year to put this community exchange in place, and we are proud to provide services that will help provide better care for our veterans within the Vermont health system.”

The external connection will make the patient health records of over 48,600 Vermont veterans available to VHIE participants. Both VA providers and providers in outside healthcare facilities working with veterans throughout the state and surrounding region will now have the ability to share veteran health records more efficiently and securely.

 “As a psychologist working with veterans, I can’t overemphasize just how important it is to securely share information with colleagues outside of the VA,” said Practicing Psychologist at White River Junction VA Medical Center Kenneth Major, PsyD. “It’s important to have a complete picture of your patient’s care, no matter where they receive it.”

Healthcare providers in Vermont will also gain the ability to access patient health data from the VA EHR system with VITLAccess, a secure provider portal connected to the Vermont HIE offering bidirectional health data exchange.

VITL and Medicity have worked together since 2011 when VITL chose the latter as its population health management technology partner. Together, the pair have worked to connect an increasing number of Vermont healthcare facilities to the state’s HIE.

The Vermont HIE benefits from health data drawn from EHR systems of all Vermont hospitals, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and 221 other healthcare locations.

Oakland Mercy Hospital connects to state HIE

Elsewhere in health data exchange, Oakland Mercy Hospital recently connected to the state’s HIE, Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII).

The hospital will now have the opportunity to participate in the HIE alongside other hospitals and healthcare providers in Nebraska and Western Iowa.

“We are pleased to be online with NeHII,” said Director of Nursing at Oakland Mercy Hospital Jayma Brown, RN. “We believe this use of technology will continue to enhance care by eliminating duplication of services and procedures, and improve quality, safety and efficiency of the care we provide to our patients. NeHII will also give healthcare providers a way to access a patient’s medical information whether seeking care in Oakland or elsewhere in Nebraska, ultimately, enhancing healthcare across the nation.”

NeHII offers patients comprehensive medical histories with health data from the EHRs of participating provider organizations. Connecting to the HIE ensures an Oakland Mercy EHRs will follow patients when they receive care from a hospital or physician within NeHII.

 “It is with great enthusiasm we welcome the Oakland Mercy provider community to NeHII. Their participation reflects their commitment to improvement in patient care coordination and facilitating safer and more efficient exchange of patient information between providers” said President of the NeHII Board of Directors Dr. Michael Westcott.

While the benefits of participating in the HIE are many, participation in NeHII is optional. Oakland Mercy patients who do not consent to having their information made accessible can opt out of the exchange by contacting NeHII. 

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