Vermont Initiative Gives Clinicians New Tools for Infectious Disease Diagnosis and Response

Burlington, VT – The Vermont Department of Health has launched a first-of-a-kind program to support healthcare professionals with timely information on disease diagnosis, testing, treatment and patient education resources — improving public health response statewide.

The Clinician Support Initiative provides access to a vast collection of images and clinical information about public health threats, including hMPXV (human monkeypox virus), COVID-19, and Lyme disease. Available on the web or through an app, these tools help improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and facilitate the timely reporting to public health for diseases of public health significance.

These resources are being made available to Vermont healthcare professionals in partnership with VisualDx, a healthcare informatics company based in Rochester, NY. A phased rollout is currently underway, and all Vermont medical professionals can expect access by the end of the year.

The Clinician Support Initiative aims to remove barriers between public health goals and the time-strapped medical professional by delivering time-sensitive, clinically relevant information critical to diagnosing and treating common and rare conditions. This will improve Vermont’s readiness for emerging infectious diseases in the wake of recent and ongoing public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and hMPXV.

“One of our longstanding priorities has been to better integrate public health and primary care, and with the right tools we can do just that,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “This initiative brings public health best practices right to the real-time clinician/patient relationship, enabling quick and easy reporting of important conditions, along with access to Vermont-specific information and guidance,” said Dr. Levine.

Dr. Levine added that the need for these connections has never been so vital, as COVID-19, pediatric hepatitis, meningococcal disease, hMPXV and other diseases spread nationally and globally.

“Clinicians are experiencing firsthand the diagnostic and treatment challenges that novel or rare diseases present, including the need to stop the spread of misinformation,” Dr. Levine said. “Diagnostic tools and educational resources that clinicians can share with patients are integral to achieving our shared mission of driving better care and public health.”

Healthcare providers can also regularly use the platform’s medical image library and patient information handouts to strengthen the patient-provider relationship and improve patient adherence to treatment plans.

“As a team of practicing physicians, we understand the daily challenges that professionals face. In addition to staff shortages and other constant stressors, clinicians are navigating the shifting landscape of infectious disease,” said Art Papier, MD, CEO of VisualDx, and alumnus of the University of Vermont College of Medicine, where he earned his medical credentials.

“Our mission is to provide medical professionals with tools and resources to augment decision-making and improve patient health. We believe the Health Department’s Clinician Support Initiative will become a national model.”

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