UVM Medical Center Seeks to Improve Coordination of Care by Expanding Shared Electronic Health Record System

The UVM Medical Center is requesting that the Green Mountain Care Board approve the addition of two hospitals to the unified electronic health record system.

The UVM Medical Center is requesting that the Green Mountain Care Board approve the addition of two hospitals to the unified electronic health record system that is now being implemented across four affiliate hospitals in the University of Vermont Health Network. The overall project’s goal is to improve the quality and efficiency of care by giving providers instant access to a patient’s most updated medical information, no matter where they are receiving care across the health network.  

The request comes in the form of a proposed amendment filed August 1 to the issued Certificate of Need (CON) for the project, which the board approved in 2018 finding there was a need to replace the outdated, patchwork electronic health record (EHR) systems in use across the network.  The board also concluded the cost of the project was reasonable and that it would improve the quality of health care, enhance patient information security, and support the state’s efforts to reform the health care system. 

Hospitals currently participating in the project include the University of Vermont Medical Center, UVM Health Network-Central Vermont Medical Center, UVM Health Network-Porter Medical Center and UVM Health Network-Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital. The proposed expansion, which was envisioned in the original CON filing, includes UVM Health Network-Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, NY, and UVM Health Network-Elizabethtown Community Hospital in Elizabethtown, NY.

“Having their medical records in this unified system will lead to more timely and coordinated care for the more than 45,000 patients from the Malone and Elizabethtown communities who come to the UVM Medical Center each year,” said John Brumsted, MD, president and CEO of the UVM Health Network.

The two hospitals were not included when the original CON was filed in 2017 because the project timeline did not allow for a full assessment of the costs of adding them. A recent feasibility study estimates roughly $9 million in savings if the EHR is installed at these hospitals now as opposed to doing costly one-off implementations later on. This approach would also enable UVM Health Network Home Health & Hospice to join the system at a much earlier date than anticipated.

If approved, the CON extension will increase the authorized capital cost of the project by $15.8 million and increase net operating expenditures by $4.2 million, bringing the total cost of implementation to $171.7 million.

“Providing the best experience for our patients depends on many things, and at the foundation is our ability to offer our patients the comfort and reliability that their electronic health record will be available no matter where they choose to get their care across our health network,” said Dr. Brumsted. “We are hopeful the Green Mountain Care Board will support this plan to help achieve our mission of providing high quality, timely and efficient care to all of the communities we serve.”

In addition to medical records, the unified EHR will include information on registration, billing, scheduling and insurance. The project also includes current health care information security technology, which is continuously reviewed and upgraded as appropriate. Another benefit of the project is that non-network providers and hospitals will also have access to more complete information on their patients.

The ongoing implementation is on track with timeline and budget targets. A number of safeguards are built into the project to help ensure its successful completion, such as the use of a nationally-recognized expert with experience in overseeing projects of this magnitude, a phased implementation that allows regular assessment on progress, and regular reports to the Green Mountain Care Board.  The project is using products from Epic Systems Corporation and is expected to be complete in 2021.

About the University of Vermont Medical Center

The University of Vermont Medical Center  is a 447-bed tertiary care regional referral center providing advanced care to approximately 1 million residents in Vermont and northern New York.  Together with our partners at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, we are Vermont’s academic medical center. The University of Vermont Medical Center also serves as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. 

The University of Vermont Medical Center is a member of The University of Vermont Health Network, an integrated system established to deliver high quality academic medicine to every community we serve.

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