Thinking About an Open Source Electronic Health Record

Dr. Peter Levin | FedScoop | March 15, 2011

VistA, which consistently rates among the best of its class, is a remarkable achievement for a package furtively born on hijacked equipment and built off-hours and on weekends. Thanks to VistA, instead of slips and clipboards our hospitals are nearly paperless, our workflow is automated, and our patient satisfaction is high.

As well as VistA runs, it is a resource intensive application, and innovation has slowed in recent years. There are a litany of technical reasons for this, but none of them are incurable, and under the leadership of Secretary Eric Shinseki, Under Secretary for Health Robert Petzel, and our CIO Roger Baker, we are embarking on an aggressive path to upgrade and modernize our system.

Indeed, in order to better benefit from technological advancements we need VistA to be as flexible, extensible, and as open as the hardware it runs on, while maintaining our highest priorities of safety and information security. The bottom line is that there are electronic tools, software algorithms, and medical devices that our clinicians want and our patients need, and they need to be linked to our EHR.

So, in February we released a Request for Information (RFI) for Open Source VistA.