UVM Health Network Modifies Electronic Health Record Implementation

Adjustment in timing of Epic installation due to COVID-19 response and recent cyberattack

Burlington, Vt. – The University of Vermont Health Network announced today its intention to revise the planned implementation of the next phases of the Epic electronic health record (EHR) system, amid the ongoing effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and restore normal operations following a recent cyberattack. Under the new timeline: In the second phase launch of the EHR, inpatient units at Porter Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center, as well as inpatient and outpatient units at Alice Hyde Medical Center, will “go-live” with Epic in November 2021. The third phase “go-live” will include inpatient units at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, and inpatient and outpatient units at Elizabethtown Community Hospital, in April 2022. These proposed timelines are contingent upon approval from the Green Mountain Care Board.

“In 2020, our Network, like those across the world, experienced tremendous challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only to be further encumbered by a ransomware attack,” said John Brumsted, M.D., President and CEO of the UVM Health Network. “An electronic health record is one of the most significant things we can do to ensure high quality care and create a seamless experience for our patients. That is why it is absolutely critical to our patients, our people, and our communities that we get the implementation of this system right. Given the obstacles we faced over the last year, modifying our timeline for installation of the EHR is the right thing to do.”

Like hospitals and hospital systems across the United States, the UVM Health Network is currently engaged in a comprehensive, staffing-intensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to hospital employees and state-identified community health care workers in Northern New York and Vermont. In addition, despite strong preventive and response measures, an October 28 ransomware attack on its computer network – in which no ransom was paid or any patient or staff personal information accessed – created additional challenges to the originally proposed Epic installation timeline. With the previously scheduled second phase “go-live” approaching in March 2021, after a careful evaluation, leaders across the Network decided to modify the plan.

The previous timeline for implementation of phases two and three for Epic implementation were: inpatient units at Porter Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center in March 2021, and inpatient units at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital and for inpatient and outpatient units at Alice Hyde Medical Center and Elizabethtown Community Hospital in November 2021.

In the first phase of implementation – completed in November 2019 – UVM Medical Center launched additional clinical and administrative capabilities for inpatient and outpatient settings, including clinical care, billing, registration, and scheduling. Central Vermont Medical Center, Porter Medical Center and Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital began using clinical, scheduling, registration and billing functions for outpatient care.

The multi-year UVM Health Network Epic implementation project replaces a patchwork of software applications that are not fully integrated, both within and between Network hospitals, often a barrier to providing the highest quality and coordinated care when patients receive treatment in multiple care settings. The software was designed by Epic Systems Corporation, the most widely-used and comprehensive health records system in the U.S.

Key benefits of Epic include:

  • Replacing a patchwork of outdated computer programs that do not communicate, and are very expensive to individually maintain.
  • The ability for patients to have 24/7 access to schedule appointments, check lab and test results online, request prescription refills, and more through MyChart.
  • Timely, efficient and accurate information sharing among providers.
  • Supporting the transition to population health management in New York and Vermont.
  • Enabling providers to coordinate care and more accurately measure outcomes,
  • Improving the ability to support patients of all genders and sexual orientations by ensuring their gender identity and pronouns are reflected across the electronic medical record.

About The University of Vermont Health Network

The University of Vermont Health Network is an integrated system serving the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives. The partners are:

Our 4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high-quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by our academic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our affiliates remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.

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