The Veterans Administration should commit to move to an open source, open standards model for the next generation of its VistA information system, according to a report from an advisory group the VA asked to submit recommendations.

The Industry Advisory Council on May 6 released a 100-page report. The council, providing a forum for government agencies and industry to collaborate, works under the umbrella of the American Council for Technology, a Fairfax, Va.-based not-for-profit educational organization created by government executives.

The council recommended that VA contract with one or more Federally Funded Research and Development Corporations to:

* Provide a detailed set of technical recommendations for development of a "VistA 2.0 Open Source Ecosystem";

* Assemble a fully functioning application development environment for use in that ecosystem;

* Develop one or more demonstration applications using the ecosystem and the application development environment; and

* Provide a Concept of Operations that includes a business model, charter, bylaws, operating principles and organizational blueprint for an independent, not-for-profit open source foundation to manage, operate and maintain the next generation of VistA.

The council also recommended the existing VistA system be placed "on an aggressive program of stabilization with limited tactical upgrades and enhancements driven by patient safety and other mandated requirements."

The report is available at

--Joseph Goedert


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