Emerging GIS Map of Healthcare Sites Using VistA EHR Systems

Open Health News has been building a database of all healthcare sites that have installed or are using any of the variants of the open source VistA Electronic Health Record (EHR) System, e.g. VA VistA, Medsphere OpenVistA, vxVistA, WorldVistA, RPMS, etc.  Using the growing database, OHNews has created a GIS map of the sites. There are still about 400+ sites yet to be added from India, Jordan, Mexico, the USA and other countries. 

The emerging GIS Map of healthcare facilities that have installed or are using the VistA System is quite impressive.  Just a quick look at the USA shows that the family of VistA EHR systems are becoming the de facto national solution for federal, state, and local community hospitals and clinics. The map clearly shows that any new sites that are looking for a high quality, low cost open source EHR system need not look more than 50 miles to find a site using some form of VistA. 

Experienced users of the VistA family of EHR solutions are everywhere. Also, almost 50% of the clinicians (physicians, nurses, etc.)  in the country have passed through U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) while working towards their degree and have been trained on the VistA system.  Federal, state, and local governments making a decision about what EHR system to buy for their hospitals or clinics ought to look closely at VistA.

Check out the emerging map of healthcare facilities that have installed or are using VistA, OpenVistA, vxVistA, WorldVistA, RPMS and other variants of this renowned system.

I understand  that the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, is currently faced with such a decision – what EHR system to acquire for DoD to replace their current, poorly performing AHLTA system. It's interesting to note that DoD still uses CHCS at all of its hospitals. CHCS is a an old variant of the VistA system.

It would be interesting to point out that an Israeli company, CAV Systems, carried out a pilot project four years ago that demonstrated that they could extract all the data and business logic in CHCS and migrate it to VistA and other databases. The toolset they developed, now called Evolve, could be used to facilitate the Military Health Systems' migration to a fully functional VistA system. That would rapdily resolve the current lack of integration between DoD and the VA with minimal cost and effort.

The other element to consider here is that it is estimated that more than 85% of the physicians in the Military Health System did their medical residency program at VA hospitals where they learned to use VistA. And that is one of the reasons why migrating to VistA would not require a lot of training for MHS clinicians, the majority of whom despise the dysfunctional AHLTA system. 

Going back to the map. If DoD medical facilities where added to this extensive network of VistA systems, then the US would have in effect a single-payer system with interoperable systems and full data exchange. A few tweaks here and there this system could then be expanded to the rest of the country, providing a far higher quality fo care for a fraction of the cost of the current Medicaid/Medicare system.

For more articles on the rapid spread of VistA one can read Open Source EHR Systems Spreading Across Hawaii and the Pacific Rim as well as an article by Joe Conn from Modern Healthcare titled VistA's open-source extension into West Virginia. For more details on the interoperability issues between VA and DoD's dysfunctional AHLTA system one can read Petition to have DoD adopt the EHR used by the VA posted on the White House web site as well as this article VA To Invest Billions in Open Source Transition.

by Roger Maduro, Editor-in-Chief, & Peter Groen, Senior Editor of Open Health News