House panel blasts DoD for overlooking VistA

Tom Sullivan | Government Health IT | February 27, 2013

...Perhaps the most heated aspect of the hearing was a question: Why won’t the Department of Defense just adopt the Veterans Affairs popular VistA EHR and, in so doing, enable the joint iEHR the agencies have been working toward? “Nobody wants to blink between VA and DoD. The agency that guards its turf the most is DoD,” Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and a Florida Representative, said. “Doctors in theater tell me they like VA’s EHR better.”

Yet, even though “it’s there” and “people like it,” Miller continued, addressing McGrath, “you won’t look at it.”McGrath explained that the DoD has, in fact, considered VistA in the past, most recently in 2009 “as it existed at the time” and before the Secretaries of DoD and VA decided to pursue the iEHR strategy of creating a joint core electronic health record system.

And now — after the VA replied to the DoD’s request for information (RFI) about an EHR platform by making a case for the VA’s own VistA — the Defense Department is preparing to revisit VistA along with the other RFI responses that McGrath said are due at close of business Wednesday. “Our VistA evaluation should be complete by the end of March,” Woodson said...