Vista—‘best of the breed’

Modern Healthcare - - OPINIONS | LETTERS -

I’ve been a user of the VA soft­ware, start­ing with the FileMan­ager and DHCP in the early 1980s, right up to the lat­est ver­sion of VistA and CPRS. I’ve sup­ported its use in a large men­tal-health in­sti­tu­tion, a com­mu­nity hospi­tal and in small clin­ics.

I have en­coun­tered the most bizarre an­tipa­thy to­ward VistA and MUMPS from sup­posed IT pro­fes­sion­als who did not even know what they can do—it was not “mod­ern” and not “ob­ject-ori­ented” and not “re­la­tional.” But as Joseph Conn said in his IT Ev­ery­thing blog (“The right and wrong de­ci­sion,” Feb. 12, Mod­ern Health­care.com), it is prob­a­bly the best of the breed—the only one that can come near it is Epic, which costs a for­tune and is closed to users so that they can­not cus­tom­ize to suit their needs.

Was I sur­prised to hear that the De­fense De­part­ment wouldn’t just adopt and adapt VistA? Good grief, no. How could they then spend more bil­lions of our tax dol­lars on very prof­itable (for the com­mer­cial ven­dors) sys­tems that would need to be scrapped and re­placed (again prof­itably) within a short time? It just would not do.

I know most of those folks cited at the end of Joe’s ar­ti­cle, and I agree that if they were turned loose with some de­cent fund­ing and sup­port, VistA would emerge even bet­ter and stronger and the tax­pay­ers would have got­ten our money’s worth. Dr. Martin Men­del­son

Chambesy Geneva, Switzer­land

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