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Medication Histories Hit Vermont EDs

July 18, 2007
by root
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Vermont is running a health information technology project in the emergency departments of two hospitals that delivers current patient medication lists within seconds of the patient's arrival — even if the patient has never visited that hospital before.

Medication data is available on 75 percent of the patients visiting the emergency department, due to the cooperation of major payers like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, MVP Healthcare, and the Vermont Medicaid program. This allows the hospital to access real-time claims data for a more complete patient medication history and enables increased patient safety, reduced drug interactions, and faster treatment for the patient, according to those involved with the project. Easy and fast access to the web-based medication history is key in the fast-paced emergency room. "If it was more than three keystrokes we don't think it would have been successful," said Andrea Lott, CIO of Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital.

The medication history service is offered by Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL), Montpelier, Vt., a not-for-profit public-private partnership. GE Healthcare, South Burlington, Vt., developed the service for VITL and provides maintenance and support for the hospitals. Data from prescriptions filled at pharmacies is provided by pharmacy benefit managers. RxHub, LLC, St. Paul, Minn. electronically routes up-to-date patient-specific medication history and pharmacy benefit information to caregivers.

RutlandRegionalMedicalCenter and NortheasternVermontRegionalHospital in St. Johnsbury are the first two hospitals in Vermont to implement the new electronic medication history service in their EDs, and the service will be rolled out to other hospitals in the state over the next year.

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