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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 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 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.

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

What is the benefit of patient consent to the practice?

Providers who receive patient consent to view data through the Vermont Health Information Exchange can have more complete information to use when making diagnoses and treatment plans. Access to medication lists increases patient safety and makes reconciliation easier. Viewing the results of previous tests and procedures can help speed up the process of providing treatment and reduce the need to repeat tests. Practices can also view demographic data submitted by other organizations.

How do I get started with VITLAccess?

Please contact us at clientservices@vitl.net and one of our eHealth specialists will contact you about enrollment. Completion of a VHIE Services Agreement is part of the enrollment process.

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.

What is Vermont doing to reform health care?

Please see our Vermont Health Care Reform page for more information about some of Vermont's health care reform efforts.

Will VITLAccess create more work for me?

You may have to do a few new things, such as asking patients to sign a consent form and answering some patient questions. However, there may be other things you have to do less of such as calling or faxing other provider offices for patient information.

Is there an installation cost for an interface to the Vermont HIE?

Many first-time costs of conecting to the VHIE can be reimbursed through a grant from the Vermont Department of Health Access. Fees for other organizations vary. Please contact us at clientservices@vitl.net for specific information.

What information will be shared?

If you give permission, your health care provider will be able to view any of the information about you that has been contributed to the Vermont Health Information Exchange by other health care organizations. This may include: the medications you have been prescribed; the medical procedures and treatments that you've had in the past; a list of your current and former medical conditions; lab test results; radiology exam reports; hospital discharge summaries; and patient demographics. If you've had mental health or substance abuse treatment, in some cases information about that may also be included. In some cases, such as medication lists, the information may come from sources outside the Vermont Health Information Exchange.

How does VITL support Vermont's health care reform initiatives?

VITL connects the electronic health records (EHR) of physician practices participating in the Blueprint for Health to the HIE, so that patient data can be collected from the EHRs and transmitted to the Blueprint's electronic registry. Providers participating in the Blueprint then use the registry to analyze patient care and identify opportunities for intervention and improvement. As the Blueprint expands statewide, VITL will increase its capacity to connect providers participating in the Blueprint to the HIE. Act 128 of the 2010 Vermont Legislature, which set the Blueprint expansion schedule, also requires hospitals to maintain connections with the HIE as a condition of their annual budget approval process. VITL will be accelerating the connection of hospitals to the HIE so that lab tests and other electronic data is available to providers participating in the Blueprint.

Will VITLAccess affect my work flow?

For some office staff members there will be a workflow change. A VITL representative will provide training and help you incorporate asking for patient consent and/or the provider portal into your daily routine.

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