Internal Memo from CIO Roger Baker Sets Oct. 1 Deadline for Open Source Transition at VA

Open Health News has just obtained a copy of an internal memo sent by VA CIO Roger Baker to all the "Under Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries and other Key Officials," of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where he sets a deadline of October 1, 2012 to implement the VA's open source initiative for VistA.

As we noted in this article, the VA is in the midst of a major shift towards an open source strategy for the continuing development and enhancement of VistA. In his memo Baker succinctly reiterates some of the key reasons why the VA is going with an open source strategy. According to Baker, the VA's "Open Source initiative," is an effort to "ensure ongoing modernization" of the VA's electronic health record "by 'opening' VistA's software codebase so that the best minds in government, industry and academia may contribute to its continued development."

Baker emphasizes that "collaboration with these parties external to the VA will increase innovation, lower the cost to develop and maintain VistA, and enable VA to continue providing Veterans with the best quality of health care possible."

In addition Baker points out that "over the course of time," VA medical staff "will enjoy a growing number of benefits that VistA Open Source will present in their day-to-day work." According to Baker, initial benefits will include "better availability, improved functionality, stronger system and application security, and easier integration across VistA modules and between VistA and other systems."

Baker points out that the open source model "gives VA access to a wider pool of software developers, thus enabling faster development and implementation of additions to VistA's service catalog." Baker concludes that "innovations and additions to the electronic health record will allow VA medical staff to better meet the demands of our evolving system of care."

A full copy of the memo can be found below.