A certificate of need or CON application has been filed by the University of Vermont (UVM) Medical Center, with the state of Vermont Jan. 3, seeking approval to develop a unified electronic health record (EHR) system across 4 hospitals in the University of Vermont Health Network.
The CON application’s submission signals the beginning of a regulatory review procedure for the project.
A unified EHR would importantly improve patient care by having all of a sufferer’s information available to a healthcare provider regardless of location whenever it is required, health system officials pointed out in their CON application.
John Brumsted, MD, president and CEO of UVM Health Network, said in a statement, “If a patient requires going from their primary care provider's office to a specialist, that specialist would have instant access to the full record of patient instead of just portions that can be shared electronically today.”
He added, “There are still times when the medical records are faxed or even hand-delivered by the sufferer at the appointment. In urgent cases, and particularly during an emergency, having immediate access to significant information is crucial. A unified EHR is foundational to our capability to collaborate completely to give the highest quality care possible."
The capital cost of the project, which is subject to certification of need review, is $112.4 million. It involves $3.1 million in capitalized interest. The complete cost of the project over the first 6 years of implementation and operation is hoped to be $151.6 million.
In accordance to the calculation of UVM officials, done independently, it could charge up to $200 million for the 4 hospitals to upgrade their own systems, and it would lack the network connectivity.
Now-a-days, the health system stores data on separate EHRs in the 4 hospitals, Brumsted noted. The systems were constricted by different vendors, and they are just partially connected.
By contrast, a unified EHR would involve clinical and health information as well as information on registration, scheduling, billing and insurance across the network.
The project would take more than 3 years to complete once it got approved.