Meet Chuck Hagel, early proponent of electronic health records

Bob Brewin | NextGov | January 7, 2013
Back in 1982, when few organizations used electronic health records, Chuck Hagel, at the time deputy director of the Veterans Affairs Administration, played a key role in developing what became the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture -- the department’s electronic health record.

Tom Munnecke, one of the early VistA developers, wrote in his blog yesterday that Hagel, nominated today by President Obama to become secretary of Defense, provided the top level backing for a grass roots system based on the MUMPS operating system, which became today’s VistA, and he should rightfully be considered one of the fathers of the system.

Dr. Don Curtis, the VA medical director at the time, called the VistA developers an “underground railroad,” Munnecke said. On Feb. 1, 1982, Hagel was honored at a banquet with a certificate for “Unlimited Free Passage on the Underground VA MUMPS Underground Railroad.”...