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VITLAccess Provider Portal Rollout to Begin This Spring

Preparation is underway for the statewide rollout of VITLAccess, the Vermont Health Information Exchange provider portal. The goals are to launch a new version of VITLAccess in late spring, expand the number of users during the summer, and offer the service to all Vermont healthcare organizations by early fall.

With a patient's consent, a provider can use the VITLAccess portal to search for and view patient data in the Vermont VITLAccessHealth Information Exchange. Providers can also review the patient's medications that have been dispensed from pharmacies nationwide.

With the Jay Peak resort area nearby, the North Country Hospital emergency department often sees patients who are visiting from other parts of Vermont. VITLAccess has enabled emergency department providers to quickly assemble a more complete medical history. "We are able to get discharge summaries from other emergency rooms or hospitals, access to the medication record, access to a lot of clinic notes in some situations as well," said Paul Newton, MD, an emergency physician. "It's really all about trying to put together as complete a picture as possible, particularly for someone who has multiple health issues. That's where VITLAccess has been helpful."

A primary use of VITLAccess is coordinating care for a patient. In the past, Dr. Lemei's office often did not get reports from other providers immediately and sometimes the information that did come in was incomplete. By retrieving data from VITLAccess, Dr. Lemei said she can have an informed discussion with a patient about his or her care without having to wait to receive missing data. "I think the biggest benefit of VITLAccess is being able to get a better picture of where a patient has been and making it more efficient to direct future care," she said.

To make VITLAccess available to more Vermont healthcare organizations, VITL will conduct a staged rollout this year. First, the seven pilot sites will be switched in late May to the production version of the portal.

Then in mid-summer the number of sites using VITLAccess will expand to approximately 25. That expansion will be done by invitation, said Rob Gibson, VITL's vice president for marketing and business development. VITL wants to demonstrate how VITLAccess can improve the transition of care and will be looking for sites that often send patients to each other. "We want to look for providers that are part of a community of care around a set of patients," he said.

By early fall, VITLAccess will be generally available for any Vermont healthcare organization or provider that wishes to use it, Gibson said. Fees for using VITLAccess will initially be subsidized through state grants.