SOURCE: Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc.

Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc.

June 01, 2015 13:00 ET

Northwestern Counseling & Support Services and VITL Dedicated to Improving Patient Outcomes

BURLINGTON, VT--(Marketwired - June 01, 2015) - Successful behavioral and mental health treatment relies on understanding the status of a patient's physical health as well. In order to make more informed decisions about patient care, Northwestern Counseling & Support Services, Inc. (NCSS) Behavioral Health Division recently joined 1000 other Vermont providers who utilize a secure portal to access their patients' health information. The provider portal, known as VITLAccess, was developed by Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc., (VITL) the legislatively-designated operator of the Vermont Health Information Exchange (VHIE).

NCSS recently trained their behavioral health staff to use the VITLAccess portal. Now -- with their patient's consent -- psychiatry, nursing and crisis staff at NCSS can view more complete medical histories that include laboratory test results, medications, radiology results, immunizations and pathology reports.

Steven Sobel, M.D. and medical director at NCSS, said, "There is an intricate relationship between our physical health and our mental health. Having more information about a patient's past treatments often provides me with information that will help me better understand their current situation." It is important to note that NCSS is not providing any mental health data about their patients to the VHIE but is utilizing the exchange to more quickly gain access to information that used to be sent by fax machine. "Not having to wait for information from a patient's primary care physician frees me up to focus on the current issues facing my patient."

VITL's President and Chief Executive Officer John K. Evans stated, "VITL is pleased that providers from so many different care settings are taking advantage of the VHIE. VITLAccess is being used by over 1000 providers at hospitals and hospital owned medical practices, federally qualified health centers, private primary and specialty care offices, nursing homes, physical therapists, chiropractors, and home health care organizations."

Support for the provider portal from health care consumers has been strong as well. More than 20,000 Vermonters (96 percent of those asked) have given their consent for providers to access their information in the VHIE. Evans continued, "On average, we see providers looking at more than six pieces of information for each patient. This includes national medication history as well as lab results and transcribed test results from hospitals and commercial labs across the state."

Ted Mable, executive director at NCSS, said, "It's important for our providers, as part of the care community for our patients, to have access to as much relevant information as possible." VITL continues to roll-out VITLAccess to authorized health care providers around the state and remains committed to a future where health information is secure and readily available when and where clinicians need it so they can make the best decisions possible for their patients.

Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL) is a nonprofit organization that assists Vermont health care providers with adopting and using health information technology, to improve the quality of care delivery, to enhance patient safety and to reduce the cost of care. VITL is legislatively designated to operate the health information exchange (HIE) for Vermont, and is governed by a collaborative group of stakeholders including health plans, hospitals, physicians, other health care providers, state government, employers, and consumers. For more information, please visit

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