Update on the Vermont State Health IT Plan

Armed with information gathered from their steering committee, individual stakeholder interviews, 96 health care professionals at five envisioning sessions that were held around the state in late summer, and 542 responses to a community stakeholder survey, the project team has set about drafting the 2016 version of the Vermont Health Information Technology Plan (VHITP). Mandated by statute, and guided by a clear vision, the project team headed by Steve Maier, HIT coordinator and health care reform manager for the Department of Vermont Health Access and Laura Kolkman, president of Mosaica Partners, is readying the first draft of the revised VHITP. The objective is to have the revised plan approved by the Green Mountain Care Board in January, 2016.

The VHITP project team is following a four-step process that focused first on defining the objectives for the plan before defining the capabilities required to achieve the objectives and the enablers – those things that need to be in place to support the capabilities. A list of 16 objectives were distilled and prioritized from input gathered at the five envisioning sessions held in Berlin, Rutland, Williston, Brattleboro and St. Johnsbury in late July and early August. The project team conducted a survey in September across a broad set of constituents to prioritize these objectives. The survey was distributed by 20 stakeholder organizations and responses were received from 542 health care professionals from all counties in Vermont.

To ensure the well-being of all Vermonters, the Vermont Health IT Plan vision is:

Health and human services information is available at the right time, right place, and in the right ways to support continuous improvements in individual health and wellness experiences, health status, and health care outcomes, and to lower costs.

Two full-day workshops attended by nearly 50 stakeholders were held in September to define the capabilities and enablers required to implement these objectives. Based on all of this input, a draft of the initiatives – the projects and programs that must be put in place – for the VHITP are being developed and are expected to be reviewed by the steering committee in early November.

While this process may seem arduous, Ms. Kolkman said “the willingness for Vermont health care professionals to participate in this process is testament to the fact that they understand the importance of a sound information technology plan to support health care reform. It was important to spend the time and gain consensus on a set of objectives in order to build a plan that will have broad support.”

By mid-November, the steering committee will be reviewing early drafts of the plan and by early December, the team expects to publish a draft to key stakeholders in advance of the first public review.  In late December and January, the VHITP will begin its formal process of approval, first by the Vermont Agency of Administration and finally, by the Green Mountain Care Board. The project team is to be commended for the open and participatory process that has been undertaken to develop this revision of the Vermont Health IT Plan. If you have questions about the Vermont Health IT Plan, please contact Steve Maier,