FAHC First Hospital to Report Immunizations to VHIE

Fletcher Allen Health Care is the first Vermont hospital to send immunization reports to the Vermont Immunization Registry via the Vermont Health Information Exchange (VHIE). The immunization interfaces went live in late January. With the addition of Fletcher Allen and its 17 affiliated physician practices, there are now 31 healthcare organizations connected to the registry via the VHIE.

The infrastructure that VITL installed for the Fletcher Allen project can also be used by other hospitals, said VITL Senior Project Manager Regi Wahl, who worked with Fletcher Allen. Several other Vermont hospitals are preparing to send immunization reports to the registry through the VHIE, she said. "As soon as hospitals are ready to test with us, we are ready. Hospitals will be able to go into production very quickly once testing is completed. Having the infrastructure in place is a great plus."

The immunization interfaces provided by VITL have reduced the amount of labor involved with submitting the required immunization data to the Vermont Department of Health. Previously, hospitals and physician practices had to manually enter the immunization data into the registry or extract data from electronic records and upload a file monthly to the immunization registry. "The immunization interface is eliminating the need to do that," said VITL Project Manager Craig Hill, who works with healthcare organizations to develop immunization interfaces.

The process for sending immunization data to the VHIE is triggered automatically from data that is entered into the EHR, Hill explained. "There is not a lot they have to do at the practice, once the interface is live, in terms of pushing the data to VITL."

Once the VHIE receives an immunization message, VITL does a quality check to look for errors. For example, VITL checks the completeness of patient demographics to ensure proper patient matching, and validates data like the city, state, and Zip code where the patient resides. If errors are found, VITL returns the message to the sender for corrections. If the message passes the quality checks, VITL sends it to the Vermont Immunization Registry. "Because of the validations that we're doing, we're getting really clean data into the registry," said Hill.

Healthcare organizations with EHRs from the Physician's Computer Company (PCC), Greenway, and Epic are sending immunization data to the VHIE. VITL is continuing to work with other EHR vendors on developing immunization interfaces.

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