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 Bhaskar, K. S.    Building the Global VistA Community    Dal Molin, Joseph   

Building the Global VistA Community


Twenty-five years ago, the Department of Defense  Department of Veterans Affairs  Indian Health Service  National Health of Finland   constructed a patient-centric system that enabled their doctors, radiologists, pharmacists, and nurses to guide software developers in the design and creation of the applications they needed to do their jobs around a decentralized, integrated real-time patient record. Hospitals are dynamic organizations and the VistA application has grown with the changing needs of the different user communities over many years. This system continues to evolve and adapt to emerging technologies and has been the foundation for several systems external to the VA. The VistA model, for example, was adopted by the and the and has also been used elsewhere by the US Public Health Service. The VistA model has been successfully used for the and a number of hospitals in Germany and several countries in Africa. Very few government-developed systems have been so widely adopted. Recently, VistA has been ported to Sanchez's GT.M, an open-source free software implementation of M (MUMPS) for Linux. This makes VistA available on a low-cost, robust, scalable, stable, and proven high- performance environment. Consequently, VistA is now available as a complete open-source software stack from operating system through application. WorldVistA is a recently incorporated non-profit organization with an important goal to be a catalyst in establishing a vibrant collaborative, open- source community for VistA, one that fully leverages the value of the open- source model for health care worldwide, to electronically pull together the VistA user community, and to coordinate the improvement of the open- source VistA application environment. We will continue the software lifecycle spiral by the addition of new bridges to new technologies and the integration of new solutions provided by the VistA user community. With a proven track record of a quarter century of successful service, VistA's best years lie ahead.