UVM Health Network Successfully Launches Second Phase of Its Electronic Health Record as Part of Access Action Plan

Release Date: 
November 9, 2021

BURLINGTON, Vt. – The University of Vermont Health Network has successfully completed the second phase implementation of the Epic electronic health record system at Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC) in Berlin, VT and Porter Medical Center (PMC) and Helen Porter Rehabilitation and Nursing in Middlebury, VT, which launched on Saturday, November 6. The expansion adds surgical services, rehabilitation, inpatient hospital, and emergency department visits into Epic – and allows providers to have secure and up-to-date access to patient medical records across Network affiliates. This second phase launch is a key component in the Network’s recently released Access Action Plan to increase timely access to care for patients across the region.

Both hospitals already used Epic for their outpatient practices since the first phase launch in November 2019. Now, with this expansion, Epic implementation is complete at PMC and nearly complete at CVMC, which will move its skilled nursing care facility, Woodridge Rehabilitation and Nursing, to the system at a later date. This latest implementation will mean that patients at CVMC and PMC will now be able to access inpatient and outpatient medical and billing information in MyChart, the Network’s online patient portal.

“A unified electronic health record system is one of the highest-value things we can do for the people we serve, and it is an important part of our Network-wide plan to improve patient access and decrease wait times,” said John R. Brumsted, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the UVM Health Network. “Epic allows patients to more easily navigate the health care system, and it gives our providers instant access to updated medical information so they can offer the most informed care. I am grateful to everyone who is working so hard to bring this essential tool to patients and providers across our health system.”

The electronic health records system, designed by Epic Systems Corp., is the most widely-used and comprehensive health records system in the U.S. It replaces a patchwork of software applications that are not fully integrated, both within and between hospitals in the Network. Previously, hospitals within the Network have used several disparate and incompatible legacy EHR systems to manage patient records. Deficiencies in those systems and their incompatibility caused disruptions for patients and providers.

The first phase of the project in November 2019 included full implementation of Epic at the University of Vermont Medical Center, and partial implementation at CVMC, PMC and Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH). UVM Health Network affiliates Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, NY, Elizabethtown Community Hospital in Elizabethtown, NY and CVPH in Plattsburgh, NY, will see full implementation in April 2022.

Hundreds of employees have spent months training to use the new system. We expect staff to adjust to working in the new system over the next several weeks.

“This is a major advancement for our patients as they will experience more seamless care between hospitals, primary care providers and specialists with the implementation of Epic. All of the providers they see will have ready access to their medical records,” said Tom Thompson, President and COO of Porter Medical Center. “This implementation is another indication of how the UVM Health Network is improving care for patients throughout the Network.”

“Implementing Epic means our patients will have the ability to access their medical record electronically. They can check lab and test results, request prescription refills, and check billing through the online portal, MyChart,” said Anna Tempesta Noonan, President and COO of CVMC. “It also supports more timely information sharing among providers.”

Epic will also support the ongoing transition to population health management by enabling providers to coordinate care and more accurately measure outcomes.

The multi-year project was approved by the State of Vermont in 2018 and then again in 2020 to include implementation of the system at Alice Hyde Medical Center and Elizabethtown Community Hospital.

The implementation of Epic is one component of the Network’s Access Action Plan, which addresses three goals: reducing wait times for specialty care, hiring successfully amid national staffing shortages, and improving hospital inpatient and emergency capacity. Other steps, include:

  • With our approved conceptual Certificate of Need, we are planning for a new outpatient surgery center to replace the outdated Fanny Allen surgery space and expand overall surgical capacity.
  • Expanding the Patient Access Service Center by adding 19 new employees and increasing centralized scheduling capabilities.
  • Launching patient self-scheduling through the patient portal MyChart in order to improve the scheduling experience for existing primary care and selected specialty care patients in FY22, with further expansion in FY23.
  •  Increasing the use of telehealth appointments and improving the workflow of telehealth visits.

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.