VA's Baker talks VistA goals

Joseph Conn | Modern Healthcare | May 26, 2011

Roger Baker, assistant secretary for information technology at the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department, said the VA is committed completely to pursuing an open-source model for modernization of its VistA electronic health-record system. 

"There is no half-hearted in this from the VA standpoint," Baker told his audience at a community meeting of World VistA, a not-for-profit organization formed to promote the use of an open-source version of VistA outside the VA. "We either succeed with open source or spend $16 billion" on switching to a commercial EHR system, he said.
A decade ago, according to Baker, the VA had the best EHR system in the world, but since then VistA's rate of improvement has diminished while the pace of progress among private-sector products has accelerated. VistA has "been ignored for a while," he said.