OSHCA 2002 brought a slew of announcements and speakers about VistA. The following is a short guide to the VistA players as seen at OSHCA: Hardhats, OpenVistA, WorldVistA, MedSphere and The Pacific Teleheath and Technology Hui. VistA is the Veterans Administration full-featured electronic medical record which has been developed and used by the VA for decades. It is public domain and available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Many individuals and organizations are working to get it into the private sector. OSHCA provided a good opportunity to find out who the players are and what they are contributing.
Hardhats : a group of volunteers that are available for help with installing and using the FOIA VistA code. Lots of information and history on their web site as well as an active discussion list.
OpenVistA: There is no clear URL for this organization yet. It is an organization that is creating ‘the stack’ a complete Free/Open Source version of VistA. An example would be a Linux workstation, running GT.M, which runs the FOIA VistA code.
WorldVistA: Recently incorporated entity ‘will not sell services or engage in other revenue generating project activities.’ Instead it will help coordinate and facilitate the efforts of other organizations and individuals in meeting these needs. It is working with groups such as MedSphere, OpenVistA and international organizations using VistA. Recently featured on LinuxMedNews here.
Medsphere Systems Corporation — For profit company that provides VistA configuration, deployment, support, and maintenance for domestic and international healthcare organizations. Recently featured on LinuxMedNews here.
Pacific Teleheath and Technology Hui: A joint DoD/VA venture, it ‘…conducts research, develops prototypes, demonstrates, tests, evaluates, validates, then disseminates and institutionalizes applications of technologies in support of innovative health care processes in the area of telehealth.’