Sapping VistA’s Soul

HealthBeatBlog has an article on the current Veterans Affairs VistA situation: ‘In the past I’ve spoken highly of VistA, the Veteran’s Administration computerized health records system—and with good reason. VistA has a lot going for it. In 2006, it won an “Innovations in American Government Award” from Harvard. Studies show that use of VistA has improved VA productivity by 6 percent a year since national implementation was achieved in 1999. In a time of sky rocketing health care costs, VA care has become 32 percent less expensive than it was in 1996 in part thanks to VistA. The computerized system also has helped the VA reach an amazing prescription accuracy rate of over 99.997 percent. And last—but certainly not least—VistA is a flexible program that allows for much independent tinkering in the name of improvement, both by techies outside of the VA and those within the administration.

Given all these pluses, you’d think that the government would be happily throwing its weight behind VistA and ensuring that the system is firmly institutionalized for the long-term. But in fact, just the opposite is happening. VistA is under attack; and it’s the federal government that’s leading the assault…’

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