The Vermont Health Information Exchange (VHIE), Vermont’s statewide network that gives health care providers the ability to electronically exchange and access patient data, is now making telemonitoring information available to providers connected to the HIE.
The telemonitoring program of the Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice (CVHHH) and the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties (VNA) are now connected with the state HIE by working with the Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL). This means that the data collected at the patient’s home is immediately available to any other provider at the home health agency or to any other treating provider in Vermont, according to the press release. A grant from the Vermont Health Care Innovation Project helped to link data from the telemonitoring services performed by the CVHHH and the VNA.
VNA and CVHHH provide in-home telemonitoring services for patients with complex health conditions, like heart disease or respiratory disorders. Telemonitors are easy to use touchscreen tablets that prompt patients to measure and record their vital signs at home on a daily basis. The information is transmitted wirelessly to the home health agency where it is monitored and reviewed by nurses.
Until now, data from the in-home devices were only available within the telemonitoring system itself. If data were needed by a doctor or another health care provider, it had to be manually transferred – most likely by secure fax – to that provider.
With the help of the Vermont Health Care Innovation Project grant, the VNA and CVHHH were able to connect their telemonitoring systems to their electronic health record (EHR) systems and then work with VITL to create a connection to carry the results from their EHRs to the VHIE, the state HIE.
Sandy Rousse, president and chief executive officer at Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice said in a statement, “Our home telemonitoring program is based on a co-case management model promoting care coordination between physicians and home health visiting staff, while allowing for timely education to a change in one’s health condition, improving self-management of disease process. Having the telemonitoring data available electronically and in real time through the VHIE allows our home visiting staff and other providers such as physicians to have access to data when and where they need it to better inform patient care and outcomes.”
“For all of the benefits of telemonitoring, the data from the home monitors was locked in a system that was separate from our EHR. Now, any provider with whom we coordinate care for our patients can have access to this data, which may be crucial in making adjustments to their care plan or to their medications,” Judy Peterson, president and chief executive officer at the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle County, said in a prepared statement.
John K. Evans, president and CEO of VITL, said, “This is a great example of collaboration between home health agencies, VITL, and the State of Vermont to overcome technical challenges and work across organizations that block access to data. The ability to provide data collected by patients at home through the VHIE complements data generated by healthcare organizations, resulting in more informed decision making by healthcare clinicians, which supports better patient outcomes for Vermonters.”
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. The VHIE collects and indexes clinical information from Vermont’s 14 hospitals, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, 11 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and 155 other provider locations. With a patient’s consent, any provider involved in the care of that patient can access their medical and medication history through the VHIE.