OSEHRA Community Undertakes Long-Elusive Alignment of VistA Code Base

Press Release | OSEHRA | November 25, 2014

Arlington, VA – The first Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance (OSEHRA) VistA Code Alignment Workshop was held in Oakland, California, November 19-21, 2014. An unprecedented effort, the workshop brought together 27 principal developers of VistA from government and private organizations dedicated to open source solutions for the challenges facing healthcare.

The primary objective of the workshop was to achieve compatibility among contributed code within the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), the EHR software used at approximately 2,500 facilities worldwide. “A VistA code base with a common community-aligned platform will allow unimpeded exchange of innovations and reduce duplicitous developments among users and developers,” said Dr. Seong K. Mun, President of OSEHRA. “This landmark workshop has demonstrated that we have a strong foundation, a strong team, and a solid methodology.”

A number of OSEHRA Corporate Members participated in the discussion, including the BITS Group, DSS, Inc., FIS GT.M, Medsphere Systems Corporation, Oroville Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the VISTA Expertise Network. Both OSEHRA Collaborative Partners, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Indian Health Service (IHS), were also actively engaged.

This interagency involvement was symbolic for attendees, including Catherine Pfeil, the Director of VA’s Application Development Competency Division. “One of the things that struck me,” said Pfeil at the conclusion of the workshop, “is that it had the era of the great collaboration meetings that VA used to have in the past.” Pfeil also noted that she and her VA colleagues “were particularly delighted to see the strong push on data collaboration. We all know this helps with interoperability. I am comfortable saying that we will commit resources to this.”

OSEHRA has committed to continued participation in the code alignment process. As a result of the workshop, an aligned core will be established within OSEHRA VistA, the first increment of which will be made available to the community (complete with its own patch management system) by March 31, 2015. Further discussions and meetings will be held in the coming months and those details will be available at www.osehra.org.

*For the comprehensive summary and slides from the workshop, see the article published by Open Health News:  http://www.openhealthnews.com/hotnews/who-says-common-vista-code-base-unattainable