VA responds to Defense iEHR RFI with open source recommendation

In an unprecedented move, the Department of Veterans Affairs posted a draft response to a Department of Defense request for information for an integrated electronic health record platform.

In the draft, posted by VA Senior Advisor to the Director Mike O’Neill, the VA makes a case for deploying the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture. VistA is the VA’s enterprise-wide information system built around an electronic health record that consists of nearly 160 integrated software modules for clinical care, financial functions and infrastructure.

“We sincerely hope that there will be an OSEHRA [Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent] response that discusses the benefit of an open source EHR supported by an active open source community and multiple vendor responses that describe proposals for deployment of a VistA-based EHRS,” O’Neill wrote in a blog post explaining the response.

O’Neill says the VA provides three items of consideration:

  • A vendor-neutral view of VistA. (Not that vendor-specific views are bad – quite the opposite; we hope that there will be many vendor-specific responses to this RFI!)
  • A summary of VA’s large enterprise deployment of VistA, demonstrating that VistA can easily address DoD’s scale requirements
  • A brief statement of VistA-related platforms (like My HealtheVet, the Connected in Health mobile platform, and hi2’s Health Management Platform) that can be built to amplify the power of VistA Your comments and feedback are welcome.

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