The Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VISTA) is the nationwide veterans clinical and business information system of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VISTA consists of 180 applications for clinical, financial, and administrative functions all integrated within a single database, providing single, authoritative source of data for all veteran-related care and services. The U.S. Congress mandates the VA keep the veterans health record in a single, authoritative, lifelong database, which is VISTA. (EMR)

  • The VistA system is public domain software, available through the Freedom Of Information Act directly from the VA website[12] or through a growing network of distributors, such as the OSEHRA VistA-M.git tree.

The Veterans Affairs (VA) VistA Electronic Medical Record is based on MUMPS, a programming language designed specifically for healthcare in the 1960's. People and organizations are rarely neutral on both public domain VistA-the-software, and MUMPS the language. VistA the software is almost universally liked by the doctors and nurses of the VA doing clinical work. VistA and MUMPS is also loathed by programmers, competitors and outsiders to the VA. VistA is big, the language it is written in is ugly, they say. Yet there is a jarring contradiction. By most accounts and measures the software, works and works well. The MUMPS language also seems to work for private sector EMR companies such as Epic. In a field that is littered with the corpses of companies that have tried and failed to create useful, commercially viable EMR software, this success counts for a lot. Why is it so successful?

Tom Munnecke worked on it

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