DoD Official Says VistA has an Outside Shot to Replace AHLTA

Anne Zieger | Hospital EMR & EHR | June 20, 2013

While it appears to be an outside shot, it’s possible that the Department of Defense might still consider a derivative of the VistA EMR for its VA EMR integration project, though a straight ahead VistA implementation sounds like it may be out of the question.

At a briefing by DoD, Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall said that while using and modernizing VistA was a “reasonable decision” for VA, it’s necessarily as bright an idea for the DoD.

After doing market research, DoD technology leaders have decided that they’ll consider a mix of competing commercial products as well as Vista-based systems, and have taken in about 20 pitches from EMR vendors.

“Three of them were from VistA-based approaches, and the rest were from other approaches,” Kendall said. “So we think we have a rich field to pick from, and we can make a best value determination for DoD.”

Open Health News' Take: 

What often seems to get lost in the discussion is that DoD Hospitals and Medical Centers around the world are still using CHCS, the DoD version of VistA. Also, AHLTA interfaces to the CHCS/VistA database for many of its functions. Also, the reason why the Federal Health Information Exchange (FHIE) or Bi-directional Health Information Exchange (BHIE) works so well in moving patient data between the VA and DoD is the fact that much of the VistA and CHCS database is essentially the same. From both a cost and interoperability perspective, it makes sense for DoD to upgrade to the latest version of VistA and then buy whatever additional modules it needs to perform other tasks unique to DoD.

BTW, take a look at the following GIS Map & Database in VA/DoD and other VistA installations at 

Peter Groen. Senior Editor, Open Health News (OHN)