29th VistA Community Meeting: Details of Upcoming Technical Conference

The upcoming 29th VistA Community Meeting (VCM), to take place June 2-4 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, is shaping up as a breakthrough gathering of technical experts on VistA and community members. The conference is bringing senior leaders from several US Federal Government agencies, including the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Indian Health Service (IHS) together with technical leaders of the VistA community to collaborate on improving the VistA and RPMS EHRs. Among many key topics, the conference will feature leading-edge technologies to connect VistA and RPMS with the latest devices, from smartphones and tablets to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The meeting is organized by the WorldVistA non-profit and sponsored by FIS-GT.M and DSS, Inc. On the Federal side, the meeting will include presentations by Theresa Cullen, Director or Health Informatics (VA); Paul Tibbits, MD, CIO Architecture, Strategy, and Design (VA); Alan Constantian, Acting Deputy Assistant CIO, Product Management (VA); Howard Hays, CIO (IHS); Steven Thornton, CTO and Director of the Division of Information Technology (IHS); William Cerniuk, Technology Director, Experienced Software and Systems Architect (VA); and, Ross Fletcher, Chief of Staff, Washington DC VA Hospital (VA), as well as many others. In total there are more than a dozen key representatives from the VA and IHS who will be speaking and participating at the conference. This continues the pattern set at the last VCM in Sacramento, CA, where, as we describe in this article, the meeting represented a leap forward in the level of collaboration between Federal government agencies and the open source community in the continuing improvement of VistA and RPMS.

The non-profit OSEHRA alliance will be actively participating at the meeting. CEO Seong Ki Mun is tentatively scheduled as a keynote speaker. In addition, Mike Henderson, Director, Open Source Product Management for OSEHRA and Chris Edwards, key engineer and developer will also be speaking. As detailed in this article, Edwards caused a sensation in the Sacramento VCM when he unveiled a breakthrough technology. Using Vagrant, Edwards was able to develop an installer for VistA that can be used to create a fully configured VistA instance in less time than what it takes to make a cup of coffee. Since the 28th VCM Edwards has added many new features to the installer. These will be shown at the conference. Edwards will also talk about code convergence.

Education will be a major topic of discussion at the conference. Presentations will range from the newly launched VistA EHR Studies program at the Albany campus of the State University of New York to the latest developments in the Regional Extension Centers (which use VistA to teach their EHR courses). The education panel will be addressed by Luis Ibáñez, Adjunct Professor, SUNY Albany, an engineer at Kitware, and OSEHRA; Patricia Abbott, University of Michigan, Associate Professor, Division of Systems Leadership and Effectiveness Science; and, Robert (Bob) Hoyt MD FACP,CAPT, USN, (ret), Director Medical Informatics Program, School of Allied Health and Life Sciences, University of West Florida.

VistA innovation will be another major topic of discussion. William Cerniuk, director of technology at the VA will give a presentation on the use of iPads at the VA. The VA has just purchased 12,000 iPads for clinicians after years of testing. Cerniuk will also talk about innovation servers. Dr. Ross Fletcher, Chief of Staff, Washington DC VA Hospital, will discuss mobile applications and using VistA to improve patient care.

The full list of speakers can be seen below.

Two courses will be taught preceding the conference. Rob Tweed will teach EWD for Developers Course - Friday, May 30, 2014 - Sunday, June 01, 2014. EWD.js is a framework for quick and easy development of modern, state-of-the-art browser-based client/server applications. It is specifically designed for use with Mumps databases and applications and is therefore ideal as a tool to modernize VistA. Oroville Hospital has had great success in developing applications, including their Scheduler App, using EWD. According to Tweed, those attending the course “will be the first to learn about the brand new, ground-up rebuilt EWD.js which, whilst being completely compatible with existing EWD.js applications, introduces new features, stability and maintainability, and also new installers that make it crazily fast and trivially simple to bring up fully working systems.” In addition, Tweed will discuss Chromecast development, gesture control using the Leap Motion controller, and hybrid mobile applications.

KS Bhaskar and Larry Landis will be teaching a 4 day GT.M Administration & Operations course Thursday, May 29, 2014 - Sunday, June 01, 2014 immediately before the VistA Community Meeting. Bhaskar will be teaching the core of the GT.M course and Landis will add the lessons learned from his VistA Linux systems administration experience using GT.M. 

Speaker's List

  • Aaron J. Drew, Senior Enterprise Solutions Architect, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Alan Constantian, Acting Deputy Assistant CIO, Product Managment, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Alan Montgomery, National Support-Reminders, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Chris Richardson, Vice-President, WorldVistA
  • Christoper Edwards, OSEHRA
  • Daryl Chertcoff, Project Manager at HLN Consulting, LLC
  • Dave Whitten, CTO WorldVistA & Central Regional Hospital VistA Manager
  • David Hill, Supervisor, SSO at MITRE
  • Douglas Martin, Senior Informaticist at Regenstrief Institute, Regenstrief Institute
  • Edward Ost, Director, Worldwide Technology Alliances, Talend, Open Integration Solutions
  • Fabian Lopez, DSS Project Management, host vxJourney web program
  • Glenn Janzen, Chief Enterprise Architect, Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • Howard Hays, CIO, Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • Jason Hawsey, Developer, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Joseph Dal Molin, Chairman, WorldVistA, e-Cology
  • Keith Cox, OI&T, Product Development, Competency Manager, Technical Analysis, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Kenny Condie, Developer, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Kevin Meldrum, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Kevin Toppenberg, Private Practitioner, Programmer
  • KS Bhaskar, FIS Global
  • Larry Landis, Fourth Watch Software
  • Luis Ibanez, Adjunct Professor, SUNYAlbany, Kitware, OSEHRA
  • Mike Henderson, Director, Open Source Product Management for OSEHRA
  • Nancy Van Ness
  • P.J. Maddox, Professor and Chair Department of Health Admin. and Policy
  • Patricia Abbott, U. of Michigan, , Associate Professor, Division of Systems Leadership and Effectiveness Science
  • Patrick Redington, Programmer for Reminders, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Paul Tibbits, MD, CIO Architecture, Strategy, and Design, US Department of Veterans Affair
  • Rick Marshall, VISTA Expertise Network
  • Robert (Bob) Hoyt MD FACP,CAPT, USN, (ret), Director Medical Informatics Program, School of Allied Health and Life Sciences, University of West Florida.
  • Roger Sigley, Director, Clinical Ancillary & Terminology Products
  • Ross Fletcher, Chief of Staff, Washington DC VA Hospital, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Sam Habiel, VistA Expertise Network
  • Seong Ki Mun, CEO OSEHRA (tentative)
  • Stephen Oxley, CMO, Central Regional Hospital, North Carolina
  • Steven Thornton, CTO and Director of the Division of Information Technology, Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • Theresa Cullen, Director or Health Informatics, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Wayne Kaniewski, Twin Cities EMR
  • William Cerniuk, Technology Director, Experienced Software and Systems Architect, US Department of Veterans Affairs