VistA Imaging

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) VistA Imaging system facilitates medical decision-making by delivering complete multimedia patient information to the clinician’s desktop in an integrated manner. Windows-based workstations, which are interfaced to the main hospital system in a client-server architecture, make images and associated text data available at all times anywhere in the hospital or across VA.

VistA Imaging handles high quality image data from many specialties, including cardiology, pulmonary and gastrointestinal medicine, pathology, radiology, hematology, and nuclear medicine. VistA Imaging can also provide textual reports from the hospital information system, scanned documents and electrocardiograms. VistA Imaging is integrated with the Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) to provide a comprehensive electronic patient record. VistA Imaging improves the quality of patient care, enhances clinicians’ communication, and is used for daily work, conferences, morning reports, teaching, and ward rounds. VistA Imaging’s diagnostic display software (VistARad) can be used for the filmless interpretation of radiology studies and for radiology workflow management.

VistA Imaging is made up of the following components:

• Core Infrastructure
• Document and Ancillary Imaging
• Film less Radiology
• Telemedicine


• Provides capture, display, manipulation, and management functions for a wide variety of medical images such as radiographs, sonograms, EKG tracings, gastroenterology studies, pulmonary bronchoscope exams, podiatry, dermatology, and ophthalmology images. VistA Imaging can store and display any sort of multimedia data, including digital images, motion video clips, graphics, scanned documents, and audio files.
• Is integrated with CPRS, allowing users to view images automatically for a selected patient. When a user views a radiology report or progress note in CPRS, the associated images are easily available.
• Provides a standard interface between VistA and commercial PACS systems.

• Automatically acquires complete studies from DICOM-compliant modalities (CT, MRI, digital x-ray, ultrasound, etc), associates the studies with the correct patient and report, and stores the studies in VistA Imaging for inclusion in the electronic patient record.
• Provides image file storage, management, and retrieval from magnetic and optical disk servers and supports data capture, storage, and retrieval over a local or wide area network (WAN).
• Provides access to electronic medical records from remote VA medical facilities over the VA intranet.

VistA Imaging:  Core Infrastructure

The VistA Imaging Core Infrastructure includes the components used to capture, store, and display all types of images. Images can be captured using video cameras, digital cameras, document and color scanners, x-ray scanners, and imported files created by electronically by commercial systems. Images can also be directly acquired from DICOM-compliant devices such as CT scanners, MR scanners and digital x-ray machines.

Captured images are accessible through VistA Imaging or the Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) graphical user interface (GUI) on the clinician’s desktop. Viewing a procedure/exam report or progress note in CPRS allows the user to automatically access any associated images.

Core Imaging Infrastructure is made up of the following:

• DICOM text gateways, which provide patient and order information to medical devices (such as CT scanners and digital radiography systems), allowing selection of the examination to be performed. The data provided by DICOM text gateways complies with the DICOM Modality Work list standard.
• DICOM image gateways, which allow VistA Imaging to receive images from PACS systems or acquisition devices. Image gateways can also be used to transfer images from the VistA system to any DICOM-compliant devices for display, printing, or teleradiology purposes.
• Windows-based workstation software for clinical image display and capture.
• The Background Processor, which manages image storage on various network devices, including magnetic storage (RAID) and optical storage (jukebox) as a long-term archive.
• The VistA Imaging database, which manages image information and the relationship between images and study data.
• The commercially available equipment required by VistA Imaging, including magnetic servers, optical disk jukeboxes, and utility workstations.

See VistA Imaging Documentation