Open Source EHR Association to release international version of VA's VistA EHR

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Open Source EHR Association launched an initiative to create an international version of VistA, the Department of Veterans Affairs' homegrown EHR.

Former VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, released the agency's plan to scrap VistA for a systemwide Cerner EHR during a news briefing in mid-2017. However, providers outside the VA have also implemented the VA's legacy system — VistA has periodically been released to the public, and developers in the Open Source EHR Association build on these updates to create an open-source product.

The Open Source EHR Association, a nonprofit that hosts software repositories to help government agencies manage IT applications, aims to expand VistA's capabilities under an international effort dubbed Plan VI. The project focuses on developing an EHR capable of displaying information in any language using Unicode, including Korean, German, Arabic and Chinese dialects.

The Open Source EHR Association is creating a workgroup to carry out Plan VI. So far, the workgroup comprises IT vendors and universities from South Korea, China and Jordan.

"We are seeing substantial interest in open-source EHR solutions from the international community," Seong Mun, PhD, president and CEO of the Open Source EHR Association, said in a news release. "Economically, leveraging high quality open-source code and community collaboration can dramatically reduce both implementation and maintenance costs."

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