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All FAQs

Will my employer or insurance company be able to see my information?

Employers do not have any access to the Vermont Health Information Exchange. Insurers may use data from the network to check the quality of health care you've received, but only if you give your insurer a separate written authorization.

Can my health information be used for purposes other than treatment?

Yes. When information that identifies you (such as your name and address) are removed, your health information may be used for research, quality improvement and public health purposes.

Can I access out-of-state data?

Data is being contributed to the VHIE from Vermont health care organizations and a few organizations in neighboring states (such as Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center) that treat a significant number of Vermonters.

How can patients see what information on them is available in the VHIE?

Under the Vermont consent policy, you have the right to access the information about you that is available to providers through the VHIE. To make a request, please call the VITL office at 802-861-1800 or complete a Contact Us form.

Is alcohol and substance abuse treatment data included in the VHIE?

It depends on whether the provider is subject to a federal law regulating the handling of patient data for substance abuse treatment (known as 42 CFR Part 2). If so, then substance abuse treatment information from that provider will be excluded from the VHIE until VITL is able to comply with all the technical requirements of the federal law. But not all providers who offer substance abuse treatment are subject to Part 2, so there may be some information about substance abuse treatment in the VHIE.

What is VITL and what is its involvement in my health information?

VITL is the independent, non-profit organization that built and operates the Vermont Health Information Exchange. VITL holds health information contributed by participating health care organizations in trust, and ensures that it is accessible by only authorized users. More information about VITL is available at www.vitl.net.

Does Patient consent for provider access to the VHIE affect our organization's EHR and being able to correspond with other providers?

No. The Vermont patient consent policy only applies to accessing a source of patient data like the VHIE or the Blueprint for Health registry, where information has been compiled from multiple health care organizations. It does not apply to accessing your organization's own data, and it does not affect communicating directly with another provider.

Who determines the consent policy for the VHIE?

The patient consent policy for the VHIE is established by the Agency of Administration and approved by the Green Mountain Care Board. VITL's role is to implement the statewide consent policy.

What Kind of Information is Available in VITLAccess?

Patient demographic information, laboratory results, transcribed radiology results, pathology results and transcribed specialty results are available from all Vermont Hospitals, Dartmouth-Hitchcock and many primary and specialty care practices. Care summaries (CCDs) are available from several Vermont Hospitals and many primary care practices. Prescription fill information from a nationwide medicine reconcilliation service is also available.

What does VITL do?

Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL) is a nonprofit organization that advances health care reform in Vermont. VITL assists Vermont health care providers with adopting and using health information technology, to improve the quality of care delivery, to enhance patient safety and to reduce the cost of care. VITL is legislatively designated to operate the health information exchange (HIE) for Vermont, and is governed by a collaborative group of stakeholders including health plans, hospitals, physicians, other health care providers, state government, employers and consumers.

Can patients see information about them that is available on the network?

There is no direct patient access to the VHIE at this time. However, under the Vermont patient consent policy, a patient does have the right to see information about them that is available in the exchange. The patient can either ask a participating health care provider to see the information or contact VITL. Providers will be able to use the portal to make a clinical summary file, which can then be given to the patient upon request. A paper printout would also meet the requirement.

What Information is Available With VITLAccess?

  • Lab test results
  • Radiology exam reports
  • Patient demographics
  • Transcribed reports
  • Medication histories
  • Clinical summaries

Independent labs are providing test results as well.

What is Health Information Exchange (HIE)?

Health information exchange (HIE) processes and moves health information electronically to and from multiple health care-related organizations. Exchanging health information is important in order to make sure that your health care providers have access to the most up to date information about you so they can make more informed decisions about your care. HIE can improve the coordination of care for a person who is seeing multiple providers by enabling providers to share important health information (healthit.gov). HIE is used both as a noun (to represent the systems and software necessary to exchange information) and as a verb (to represent the movement of information between organizations).

Who may give consent to access the VHIE for a minor age 12 or older?

Unless a minor is established as a legally emancipated minor, a parent or legal guardian must provide consent for a provider to access a minor's health information on the VHIE. However, there are a number of situations when a minor may consent to treatment and therefore should be providing the consent to access his or her record which may include information related to that treatment.

These situations may include:

  • Minors age 12 or older consenting to treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, drug dependence or alcoholism.
  • Minors age 14 or older seeking voluntary inpatient treatment for a mental health condition.
  • Minors of any age seeking treatment related to reproductive health or sexual abuse.

Because information regarding treatments for which the minor has consented may be mixed with information regarding other treatment received by the minor, VITL suggests that providers obtain written consent from both the parent or legal guardian and a minor age 12 or older to access the minor's protected health information on the VHIE. Consent may be revoked by the minor alone.

What are the system requirements for VITLAccess?

There are a limited number of operating systems and browser combinations recommended for use with VITLAccess. For maximum performance, select one of the combinations listed below:

Windows 7 SP 1

Windows 8.1

Apple/Mac

Internet Explorer 11
Chrome
Firefox

Internet Explorer 11
Chrome
Firefox

Chrome
Safari

 

Is VITL part of state government?

No, VITL is a private, independent nonprofit organization with its own board of directors and staff. However, VITL does work very closely with state government on its health care reform efforts.

After a patient signs the consent form, how long is consent good for?

Patient consent is good indefinitely, until it is revoked by the patient signing a revocation form.

Why Should I Use VITLAccess?

With a patient's consent, you can use VITLAccess to view demographic, medical and medication information about your patients from other health care organizations. This is helpful when establishing a relationship with a new patient, or when coordinating care with providers outside of your organization is necessary.

What is the benefit to sharing my health information in the VHIE with all of my providers?

Your health care provider will have more complete information about your health history, which is very important for your provider to have when determining what could be causing your medical problems now and recommending treatment. If your health care provider can see the results of tests you've had in the past it may mean that the tests don't have to be unnecessarily repeated. Health care providers, including those participating in the Vermont Blueprint for Health and other health care reform initiatives, can also better coordinate the care you are receiving if they can see your complete record.

Who is responsible for health IT policy and planning in Vermont?

The State of Vermont's director of health care reform is responsible for coordination of health care reform efforts across state government. For more information, go to http://hcr.vermont.gov

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