VA Implements Open Source Community Around EHRs

The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun implementation of an open source community based on its electronic health record, selecting The Informatics Applications Group (tiag) to create a Custodial Agent that will serve as the community’s governing body, the agency announced.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to create the next generation of EHRs, which is so important to our EHR collaboration with DoD and to many current and future users of electronic health records,” said VA Chief Technology Officer Peter Levin. “In order to achieve the highest level of utility and safety, we must engage as broad a base of EHR users and developers as possible. We are working closely with tiag to design a robust Custodial Agent that enables this level of community engagement.”

VA expects the Custodial Agent to launch in August and to be fully operational this fall. The CA will provide important communication, organizational, and administrative functions that enable community members to share information and software and to collaborate on the improvement and the use of EHR systems, the agency said.

“Our EHR is central to the quality of care we provide to Veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. “As we continually advance the health care we deliver, so too must we advance the capability of EHR software. Moving to an open source model invites innovation from the public and private sectors. It is an important element of our EHR collaboration with the Department of Defense and an important part of our strategy to ensure that VA clinicians have the best tools possible, and that Veterans receive the best health care possible.”

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