VA CIO shares forthcoming open source contributions

Tom Sullivan | Government Health IT | June 12, 2013

WASHINGTON – Pledging “more motion and more outputs” of its own VistA developments, acting Veterans Affairs CIO Stephen Warren offered a glimpse of what the department is planning to turn over to the open source community. In a morning keynote at the Government Health IT Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Warren listed a technical manual of VistA, numerous APIs, interoperability work and a new approach of releasing individual components as among the VA’s near-term intentions.

“We’re about two weeks out on this, one of the things we felt we needed to do was actually write the manual,” Warren said, explaining that it will benefit not only open source developers but it will also help organizations implement and use VistA...the VA is also going to institute a more iterative approach ad begin handing individual VistA components over to the open source community, via the custodian OSEHRA, rather than wait until an entire release is complete.

“As you put it out there, [there’s a] high chance someone is going to say, ‘We tried that already and it doesn't work,’” Warren explained. “That’s tremendous value to an organization.” Indeed, the VA is also looking to the open source community for input and development that will help with ICD-10 and meaningful use. “You’re going to see more motion there, more outputs there,” Warren said. “We’re going to be as open as you can be.”...