Paradigm Shift: VistA, the Patient Management Console

Note: This is reprint of a post from well-known VistA community member and physician Matt King describing VistA as a patient management console. This is a critical concept. While VistA has been widely recognized as the best hospital-based EHR in the world for over a decade now, few have been able to convey why this is so. King will be elaborating on this concept at the upcoming Vista Community Conference in Sacramento, CA. [RAM]

Billions of dollars have been spent on the functionality of VistA; but not 1 dollar has been spent on VistA Bling. Because VistA is developed by the VA and released to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); it is also very low cost compared to other EHRs with the same functionality. This makes VistA the ultimate “blue collar” EHR. It comes to work every day with phenomenal up times; it shoulders the work reliably and efficiently; but it is not showy.

VistA is proven to improve patient outcomes when used properly and has a stronger correlation with patient quality outcomes then any other EHR. Applying the concept of evidence-based medicine: If VistA was a medication, every physician would prescribe it.

Aspirin is a low cost highly effective medicine given to all patients that can tolerate it after a myocardial infarction. Although it has more evidence to be prescribed than most newer medications, pharmacology representatives never come to my office and try to get me to prescribe it. That's because it is generic and cheap to buy.

VistA is like aspirin. It is one of the best EHRs available, it can save lives. But there is no army of salesman to promote it. Moreover, most EHR buyers are easily impressed by the “bells and whistles” of other EHRs and salesman are quick to demo cool looking items that often don't translate well into functionality.

How can one “sell” VistA in a marketplace littered with slick salesmen and snazzy EHR products, sold by companies that spend more on advertising than R&D?

The answer is to promote VistA for what is really is: A patient management console, not simply a way to write a patient note. The ideal patient management console allows the clinician to determine the individual medical needs of each patient, including preventative care, chronic disease management and acute care. It then provides a single place to meet these needs. The note then practically writes itself through the use of “today objects” that capture the orders and encounter data.

A demonstration as a patient management console refocuses on what the end user really needs: An efficient way to manage the patient while the EHR silently captures the provider actions.

Find out more how Your VistA can be configured as a patient management console at the VistA Community Meeting in January!