What Is OSEHRA And VistA?

Matthew McCall | Project Blue Button | October 1, 2012

According to the oral history of the Department of Veterans Affairs, of which I have been an attentive listener over the years, once upon a time, innovation ruled the land. VistA, the legendary Electronic Health Record, was born in the basements of VA medical centers, and raised like a child by doting clinicians and wise developers. VistA grew and grew into the king it was destined to become, and was loved by all as a fair and friendly lord.

However, a cold wind began blowing from the lands in the north, and it grew clear to VA: winter was coming.

Over time innovation slowed, and VA began seriously weighing the purchase of a commercial solution. The vendor community had been rapidly creating new features, and closing in on the widely deployed VistA solution. VA faced a decision, either find a way to drive innovation now so VistA can remain arguably the most powerful EHR in the world, or undertake a massive project to implement a proprietary solution. Their answer was simple: lets try open source.