VA, DOD Choose Open Source to Combine EHRs

Ken Terry | Information Week | September 9, 2011

In a decisive break with the past, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD), which operate the two largest healthcare systems in the country, on Aug. 30 officially launched an open-source community to help them revamp and unify their electronic health records.

The two departments have created the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA) to serve as the governing body of the new public-private community. OSEHRA, an independent, nonprofit organization, now has its own website and is ready to accept contributions from the private sector.

The VA will make the source code for its VistA electronic health record--first released to the public decades ago--available to the community. The Department of Defense is expected to release some portions of the source code for the Military Health System's AHLTA EHR, which contains the health records of military personnel. But DOD has not yet made an announcement on the subject...