28th VistA Community Meeting to Feature Top VistA Leaders

Roger A. MaduroFormer VA CIO Roger Baker, Oroville Hospital CEO Robert Wentz, and the VA's current CIO, Stephen Warren, will be addressing the 28th Vista Community Meeting (VCM) in Sacramento, CA in what promises to be one most important conferences of the VistA community to date. The conference, which takes place January 17-19 at the UC Davis School of Medicine campus in Sacramento, CA, will feature a stellar cast of Health IT leaders. In addition to Baker, Wentz, and Warren, keynote conference speakers include Dr. Seong Ki Mun, Chairman of OSEHRA, Howard Hays, CIO of the Indian Health Service (IHS), Theresa Cullen, Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO) of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Stephen Oxley, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the Central Regional Hospital in North Carolina, and Denise LeFevre, CIO of Oroville Hospital.

The speaker roster is extraordinary in particular given the short notice for the meeting. UC Davis School of Medicine has hosted the January VCM meeting for the past several years. This year's event, however, could not be scheduled until the last minute as the School of Medicine facilities is undergoing a major renovation. It's was not clear whether the facilities would be available until mid-December. This conference, organized by WorldVistA, seems to be following in the steps of the highly successful VistAExpo held in Seattle, WA at the end of October of last year. That conference, organized by the VistA Expertise Network (VEN), changed the usual format for VistA conferences and instead of just focusing on technical presentations, invited the CIOs of half-a-dozen hospitals that had implemented VistA to address the conference. This led to a series of extraordinary in-depth discussions and presentations on the superiority of VistA as a hospital-based EHR.

This conference comes at a time that the entire healthcare industry is in massive turmoil due to the astounding rate of proprietary EHR implementation failures. As we have been documenting in Open Health News, the failure rate for proprietary EHRs ranges from 60% to 85% while the overall cost of EHR implementations is rapidly approaching two trillion dollars with no end in sight. As OHNews will be documenting in our upcoming special report, "VistA: The EHR of Record", the success record for VistA implementations is near 100% and the cost of implementing Vista ranges from less than 25% of the cost of proprietary EHR implementations for regional hospitals and small medical facilities to less than 10% for medium to large hospitals.

In addition to the conference itself, two in-depth courses will be taught before the conference. The first course is a class on how to install VistA from scratch taught by Sam Habiel from the VistA Enterprise Network. The second course, taught by Rob Tweed, will focus on EWD.js, a framework for quick and easy development of browser-based client/server applications that have become a very popular toolset for modernizing VISTA for both desktop and mobile devices. EWD.js was recently approved for use by the VA. 

One of the most significant panels of the VCM conference will include a presentation from the winners of the VA's Scheduling Contest. As OHNews detailed in this article, the winners were, in the first place, Health eTime by MedRed, LLC, in second place, OH Scheduler by Oroville Hospital, and in third place was the HP Open Community Team Submission which was put together by a team of open source developers led by HP. This was the first attempt by the VA to open a public contest to allow the community to propose ways modernize VistA.

The competition was fierce, with more than 41 entries and all the major proprietary EHR vendors submitting their scheduling packages as their entries. In the end, the open source solutions to be presented at the conference trounced the competition. This will be the first time that the winning teams will be presenting their solutions at a public event and attendance to the conference is worth it just for this session.

Several major announcements are expected during the conference. K.S. Bhaskar from FIS Global is expected to announce the release of a new tool, FIS InfoHub. This is a tool to store and retrieve time-varying data for general purpose monitoring and alert generating applications. Built on the massively scalable FIS GT.M database platform, numeric and symbolic data stored by InfoHub can be simultaneously broad (large numbers of sources) and deep (extended durations). The GT.M database which is available under an open source license when running on Linux has proven to be a robust solution for running VistA in many deployments including Jordan and Oroville Hospital.

Bhaskar will also make a modest proposal to evolve VistA using a horizontal re-engineering technique based on lessons learned from re-engineering the FIS Profile real-time core-banking application.

Keynote Speakers

  • Roger Baker, Chief Strategy Officer, Agilex Technologies, Former CIO, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Stephen Warren, CIO US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Robert Wentz, CEO, Oroville Hospital
  • Howard Hays - CIO Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • Theresa Cullen - CMIO VHA Department of Veterans Affairs, Director, Health Informatics
  • Seong Ki Mun, CEO OSEHRA
  • Stephen Oxley - CMO, North Carolina Central Regional Hospital
  • Denise Lefevre, CIO, Oroville Hospital

Session Speakers

  • Alan Montgomery, VA National Support for Reminders
  • Alberto Odor, Associate Adjunct Professor, UC Davis School of Nursing
  • Anthony Puleo
  • Chris Casey, Developer
  • Christopher Edwards - OSEHRA
  • Dave Whitten
  • George Lilly
  • Jannette Abouzied, MedRed
  • Jayson Hawsey - VA Developer
  • Jim Bell, Retired VA Developer
  • Joel Mewton - Bitscopic, Inc.
  • Joseph Dal Molin - E-cology
  • K.S.Bhaskar, FIS
  • Kenny Condie - VA Developer
  • Marine Koshkakaryan,  Parsons Institute for Information Mapping (PIIM), member  HP Community Scheduling Submission Team, Project Manager for the Parsons Institute contribution and Developer
  • Matthew King, Staff Physician, North Carolina Central Regional Hospital 
  • Mike Henderson, Director, Open Source Product Management, OSEHRA
  • Patrick Redington, VA Developer, Reminders
  • Rick Marshall- VISTA Expertise Network
  • Robert Silverman
  • Ryan Lehman, BT
  • Sam Habiel
  • Shelly Weems - Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Zach Gonzales, Oroville Hospital