Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Frequently Asked Questions: Electronic Health Record/PRISM Security and Confidentiality
We understand that by choosing Fletcher Allen for your care, you have entrusted us with your personal health information. We take the protection of your personal information very seriously. The development of an electronic health record at Fletcher Allen provides many opportunities to enhance the way we deliver care to our patients, and it also represents some changes to our current practices.
Our electronic health record project, called PRISM (Patient Record and Information Systems Management), will help Fletcher Allen achieve its vision of developing an Integrated Delivery System which provides high value health care to the communities we serve and enhances our academic mission. You may have questions regarding the security and confidentiality of the PRISM system, such as how the personal health information stored in PRISM remains secure, and how the system is monitored to ensure sensitive health data is used appropriately.
The following should answer many of your questions.
Can anyone who works for Fletcher Allen see my record ?
Only employees who need to view patient records, or document outcomes in patient records, will have access to PRISM. Further, employee access to the PRISM system will be specific to each employee’s duties. In other words, a physician, a nurse, a technician, and a registration specialist will all have access to PRISM, but they will each only have access to the parts of your patient record needed to perform his or her role in your care. Clinical psychiatric notes are restricted to being viewed or edited only by a patient’s psychiatric care team.
Can my record be e-mailed to me or my physician? Can they be seen by physicians outside the Fletcher Allen network?
PRISM is self contained; no emails can be sent either into or outside of the system. Physicians will be able to communicate within the PRISM system via a secure, HIPPA “in basket” mechanism. However, you will be able to directly access portions of your electronic health information via MyChart (see next question). If your primary care physician is credentialed at Fletcher Allen, he or she will be able to access all of your health information via the PRISM system from his or her own practice.
If you are receiving care by one of our regional referring providers, they will be able to access your records via our PRISM Link system. If you are receiving care outside our network of providers, in the US or abroad, your provider can contact Fletcher Allen for your electronic records – as is currently done with paper records. Or, you may choose to print your health information directly from MyChart to share with your provider.
What is MyChart and when will it be available?
MyChart is a patient feature within PRISM which allows you to access – and even update – some portions of your health record, request routine appointments, and obtain pertinent wellness information. MyChart will become available to our patients in 2011.
I hear a great deal about identity theft. How safe is my personal/medical information in PRISM or MyChart?
The confidentiality and security of your personal health information are of the utmost importance to us, and we can assure you that PRISM has been designed with many security protections in place. First, it is important to understand that your information will never appear on the internet; rather, it is housed on the Fletcher Allen intranet – a secure, internal hospital server. Your information is protected by multiple layers of security. First, there is firewall protection built into the system.
Next, anyone attempting to gain access to the system who manages to pass through the firewall must have rights to the information, and know the location of the information within the intranet. If a person gets through these layers of security, he or she would then need to know passwords to access the PRISM system or the MyChart feature. Finally, you will be interested to know that social security numbers of our patients are not housed within PRISM.
How often is my record updated ?
Your record is updated virtually instantaneously at the time of your care. Physicians, nurses, and other providers on your care team have access to certain portions of your health record and are able to immediately document your care as it is performed, right at the bedside.
Can I print my records?
You can print screen shots directly from MyChart, but, as part of our security policy, you cannot print your entire medical record from MyChart. In order to print information from MyChart, you would need to copy and paste the screen into another document and print from there. You can request your full health record at any time from Fletcher Allen’s Health Information Management department, at 802-847-5330.
How long does my record stay online?
By Vermont law, as with paper records, Fletcher Allen is required to keep your electronic health record for at least 10 years depending on what aspect of the record is being referred to, and potentially longer than that if you are a minor. For example, birth records are kept 21 years past the date of live birth. To provide you with the best care possible, we greatly value having the historical record of your care. Thus, we plan on retaining your electronic records as long as legally required, and as long as it is practical to do so beyond that time.