Impact Assessment Shows Savings for VT Health Care

During Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017), VITL completed an impact assessment consisting of two separate studies, both of designed to evaluate the impact of VITL and the Vermont Health Information Exchange (VHIE) on health care in Vermont.

The first study evaluated patient expenditures at Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) based on their clinical technology maturity. A clinical technology maturity model was defined according to three domains: community collaboration interventions (which included the use of VITLAccess, the secure provider portal to the VHIE), technical interventions (such as the existence of interfaces to the VHIE), and data quality interventions (such as the use of standard terminologies and the completeness of clinical documentation.) The study analyzed expenditures measured by claims data for 116 PCMHs representing 308,157 attributed Vermont patients. The analysis demonstrated that each unit increase in a practice’s clinical technology maturity score was associated with a $59.00 reduction in expenditures per patient per year.

The second study was a survey of provider practices to determine the operational impact of installing laboratory results interfaces that delivered lab results through the VHIE directly to that provider’s electronic medical record (EHR) system. The goal was to quantify the shift in activities that may occur when repurposing staff activities from manual entry of lab results when results are received through an electronic interface. A survey of 34 Vermont health care organizations (HCOs) demonstrated that on average, the HCOs spent 1.6 hours less time each day updating their EHR after an interface was implemented, compared to the manual entry method.

Since VITL’s inception, the impact of health information exchange in Vermont has only been measured in an anecdotal manner. This feedback has been subjective, and collected from clinicians and health care organizations that use the VHIE, and the tools and resources deployed by VITL, to inform the care they provide to patients and to improve the management and health of the populations they serve.

Like VITL, many other health information exchanges across the United States are similarly challenged with addressing stakeholder questions regarding the value and importance of HIE, the expected clinical and financial outcomes, and the overall benefits that organizations, particularly state governments, derive from ongoing investments in this relatively nascent area of health care.

The financial support VITL has received from the State of Vermont over the last ten years has supported the development of a clinical data network that clinicians are using for point of care decision making as well as for managing population health under healthcare reform.

These two studies begin to inform the return on the investments made in VITL by the State of Vermont and the significant future potential that the exchange, access, and use of healthcare data can have for improving care and reducing the cost of care for Vermonters.

Click here for the VITL Impact Assessment report. Please contact VITL if you have questions or comments regarding the report.