Spotlight on VITL – Vermont Information Technology Leaders

VITL-servicesBy Joanna Cummings
Twitter: @VITLVT

When was the last time you got excited about reading an article or book on technology? If the answer is “all the time” then consider yourself in the minority. Technology is the backbone that makes everyday tasks from online bank transactions to a Facebook ‘Like’ seamless, without the end user needing to know about how their data is collected, stored and transferred. These networks and systems have been integrated into our lives so deeply that many people cannot imagine life before them, but that’s about as far as a social conversation goes most of the time.

Functioning seamlessly in the background while providing important health care-related services has been VITL’s role for the past ten years. As operators of the Vermont Health Information Exchange (VHIE), VITL has been building a network that securely moves health information electronically across multiple organizations such as hospitals, primary care providers, home health, pharmacies and laboratories. Partnerships have also been established with The Vermont Blueprint for Health in order to support their chronic care management programs, and with the Vermont Department of Health to send immunization data to their registry. The Accountable Care Organization (ACO) known as OneCare Vermont also relies on the VHIE for health data to care for their individual patients, and to manage the health of a population of Vermonters in their care.

The VITL client services team of eHealth specialists travels the entire state to assist clinicians with implementing health information technology such as electronic health records (EHR), and they work as coordinators for the interface projects that connect hospitals and practices to the VHIE.

VITL services expanded recently with a secure messaging application called VITLDirect, and with VITLAccess, a portal that clinicians can use to access patient information to see a more comprehensive, accurate and current medical history for patients. The results for patients and clinicians is the avoidance of duplicate lab tests, preventing errors in prescribing medicines, and increasing quality of care by making informed decisions on treatments and services.

With VITL’s expanded services came the need to expand outreach to Vermont’s health care community, in order to build awareness of the opportunities for more informed and better care that the technology can provide. An awareness campaign was developed, and from January to March 2015 Vermonters heard more about VITL in several ways, with a call to action for clinicians and health care consumers to “be part of the solution” of improving health care for all Vermonters. Strategies included television spots, a clinician solutions event series, social media postings, website sections dedicated to patients and clinicians, and videos that illustrate how the VHIE and our services provide critical health information where patients and clinicians need it.

Although the campaign has concluded, the work of building a robust health information network has not. Currently VITL is developing VITLNotify, a notification system that will send clinicians alerts for any hospital inpatient, emergency admittance or discharge that their patients experience. VITLAccess and VITLDirect are being adopted statewide at hospitals, independent practices, home health agencies, physical therapists, orthopedists, behavioral health providers, gynecologists and chiropractors.

Health information technology may seem like an esoteric topic but everyone can identify with wanting the most comprehensive health care available. VITL will continue to be part of the solution to an integrated and responsive health care system. Vermonters can answer the call to be part of the solution too as engaged patients and health care consumers. Find out more about us at

This article was originally published on VITL and is republished here with permission.