Tennessee Health Department Seeking to Implement VistA

Duane Marsteller | The Tennessean | November 6, 2012

State public health officials say their aging computer system is on the brink of collapse, so they’re hoping to convert to the Veterans Affairs system. But first they’ll have to get nearly $9 million. That’s how much Tennessee Department of Health officials are seeking for the conversion in their fiscal 2013-14 budget request, which they presented to Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday.

The agency’s current Patient Tracking Billing Management System “is not efficient and not effective,” said Dr. John Dreyzehner, the state’s health commissioner. It is more than 20 years old, is limited in what it can do and can’t create or maintain electronic health records that can be shared across local health departments, he said.

“It was a state-of-the-art system when it was put in place in 1992,” Dreyzehner said. “We’ve spent a lot of money to keep it up and running and keep it functional, but it’s getting harder and harder to tape it together.” The agency wants to replace it with a nonproprietary, open-source system developed and used by the VA. The VA system has been lauded for efficiently keeping track of more than 8 million patients, Dreyzehner said...


Open Health News' Take: 

Tennessee is one many states looking to implement VistA. The adoption of VistA is going to accelerate now that the VistA custodial agent, OSEHRA, is fully operational. The recently concluded OSEHRA Summit meeting was very successful. The community took great strides in community together and laying out a path for the future. Below are several good articles describing the Summit and some of the most recent events related to VistA:

We expect to see many more similar announcements. From what we have heard there are at least half-a-dozen other states ready to move on their state-wide VistA implementations. This movement is not restricted to states, there are several countries going down the same path. Open Health News will keep you posted. Roger A. Maduro, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief, Open Health News.