Vermont Sets Five-Year Plan For E-Health Record Adoption - InformationWeek

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Vermont Sets Five-Year Plan For E-Health Record Adoption

In its road map report, Vermont Information Technology Leaders identifies what's needed to reach a 2011 goal of getting more than half of the state's doctor practices to use electronic medical records.

Vermont wants to get the majority of its health care providers using electronic medical records in the next five years and has unveiled a road map to help that happen.

The plan, developed by the Vermont Information Technology Leaders, or VITL, a nonprofit private-public organization, was submitted to the state's legislative body and several state agencies this week.

The state will use VITL's road map and suggestions as it moves forward with possible funding and other plans to help propel the development and use of a statewide health information exchange, a VITL spokesman said.

VITL is a regional health information organization, or RHIO, set up in the state and is currently running a couple of its own health-IT pilots, including a transaction service that provides doctors with patients' medication information electronically.

Moving ahead, the goal for VITL is to be a "self-sustaining nonprofit business" that would generate revenue through subscriptions, transactions fees, and other services provided to doctors in the state as the region creates an interoperable health information exchange, he said.

In its road map report, VITL identifies what's needed to reach a 2011 goal of getting more than 50% of the state's doctor practices to use electronic medical records.

The plan provides recommendations about the adoption of national technology standards, addresses patient privacy and security issues, and makes suggestions about possible funding mechanisms.

It's estimated that 69% of Vermont's primary-care physicians rely on paper records, with only 31% of physicians using some digital health record capability. There are approximately 634 primary-care physicians practicing in the state.

The VITL road map estimates it would cost about $24.7 million over the next three years to deploy e-health record systems and provide related technology support to 318 primary-care physicians in the state who are not employed by hospitals and who are not using EMRs.

The report does not provide specific recommendations about how to fund that $24.7 million. However, VITL plans to make subsequent proposals about how that funding could be split among state funding, grants, as well as investments by the doctors themselves.

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