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Your Questions

Patient FAQs

Can my information be accessed in an emergency, without my consent?

Answer:

Yes. In emergency situations, if the provider treating you cannot obtain consent because of your medical condition, the provider may access your health information. You or your legal representative must be notified of this access as soon as reasonably possible. If the provider wishes to continue accessing your information after the emergency has ended, he or she must obtain written consent to do so.

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

Answer:

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.

What is Health Information Exchange (HIE)?

Answer:

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).

How can patients find out who has accessed their data?

Answer:

Under the Vermont consent policy, you have the right to see an audit report of each  by a provider of the information available about you. To request an audit report, please call the VITL offie at 802-861-1800 or Contact Us.

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

Answer:

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.

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

Answer:

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.

Can I decide which types of information will be shared?

Answer:

No. Once you give consent, providers involved in your care may view any of the information about you that is available through the VHIE.

How will my health information be used?

Answer:

Information from the statewide electronic medical record will be used by your health care provider(s) in treating your medical conditions. For example, your provider may find the information useful in ruling out certain medical problems, or in determining which drugs are safer to prescribe for you. Some or all of the information from your statewide electronic record may also be added to the permanent record kept by an individual provider.

How secure is my information?

Answer:

Please see our Privacy and Security page for more information.

What happens if I don’t give consent to view?

Answer:

Your health care provider won't be able to see any information about you that is available through the Vermont Health Information Exchange, and won'tt be able to use that information to give you better health care. A health care provider can still seek information about you by other means, such as calling and faxing other places where you may have received care.

How long is my consent good for?

Answer:

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

Is my consent specific to a single health care organization?

Answer:

The Policy on Provider Access to Protected Health Information establishes the concept of global consent. When you sign a consent form, any provider involved in your care can access your information through the Vermont Health Information Exchange. The policy does not have an option to provide consent on an organizational level.