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An Open Source Approach to Veterans Affairs Medical Info

February 21, 2011 No Comments

For years, the VA has run the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), which is their Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. Turns out it was written by clinicians themselves, and has served well over years. However, the VA believes it might be time to use open source methods in a kind of public/private partnership. This is a really big deal, novel in government, which might also improve the health record systems we all use. This could become the basis of a jointly developed health records platform.

Here’s the gist:

VistA’s capabilities evolved endogenously over the many years it has been in successful production, and are the result of the contributions of many innovations, including those that came from within VA itself. However, today’s health care environment – in which new models of care are continuously developed and deployed – is utterly dependent upon the accelerating technological development of new medical devices, improved IT infrastructure, services, and wireless communications. In order to sensibly benefit from these advances, VA must address fundamental structural constraints that will inhibit its ability to keep pace with health services delivery. Specifically, VA believes that a structured, deliberate, and predictable migration from our custom and proprietary EHR software to an openly architected, modular, and standards-based platform will achieve five crucial objectives:

Read More of Craig Newmark’s Blog Post

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