Vista Now Open Source

The big open source struggle that began with Linux, moved to enterprise applications and then the consumer space, is now pointed directly at the heads of doctors and hospitals.

VistA, the public record EHR and hospital management software created by the Veterans Administration, is once again an open source movement with word that DSS, its biggest commercial licenser, is switching to the Eclipse Public License.

In a press release posted by its PR firm, the company also said it is joining the Open Health Tools Foundation.

In the press release DSS President Mark Byers was frank about the company’s ambitions with the move:

  1. Make VistA a standard framework in the coming battles over health IT; and

  2. Get greater cooperation with the open source VistA community.

This is huge news, wrote open source health expert Fred Trotter at his blog. It changes the VistA game and gives open source a strong competitor in VistA software alongside Clearhealth and Medsphere.

While he expressed some skepticism about whether DSS “knows how” to be an open source vendor, Trotter’s piece was welcoming and he offered high praise for its code:

The fact that DSS has chosen to release its code through OHT brings a new relevance to OHT. There should be no confusion however; OHT is relevant because it is working to release DSS code, not the other way around. The code that DSS is releasing has the potential to be vastly more valuable than anything OHT has even attempted.

The move to strengthen open source and VistA is well-timed, given the new Administration’s promise to increase health IT spending. Whether it can beat a city filled with lobbyists is anyone’s guess. (full Story)

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