VistA Imaging upgrades will enhance exchanges with DOD

By Peter Buxbaum
03:38 PM

The Veterans Affairs Department is enhancing VistA Imaging and at the same time improving its ability to exchange medical imagery with the Defense Department.

Patriot Technologies, of Reston, Va., will provide VA with life cycle engineering and strategic management for the program under a five-year, $65 million contract.

The software development and integration work will allow more types of imaging files to be viewed in VA's electronic health record system, the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA).

The improvements to image exchange are part of the wounded warrior initiative, said Roger Coney, a project manager at Patriot Technologies. "When soldiers come back from Iraq and Afghanistan and eventually enter the VA system, images will be able to move from DOD to VA seamlessly," he said.

"Many of the wounded are polytrauma patients, and [doctors] tend to take a lot of radiology studies of them," Coney added. "This way, they won't have to re-image patients, and that will limit their exposure to radiation as well as provide them with better continuity and quality of care."

At the core of the VistA Imaging enhancement will be migration to a service-oriented architecture, Coney said.

"We will be using services rather than direct application interfaces," he said. "We are coordinating with DOD so that both organizations' architectures will be symmetrical. As we progress with the internal restructuring, we will be adding additional capabilities as services."

Eventually, DOD and VA should be able to share all image file types from all sites.

Additional enhancements to VistA Imaging include development of a central archive for all VA images, whether acquired through VistA or a commercial system, and new indexing and search capabilities.

Patriot Technologies will also spearhead the integration of VA images into VistA's surgery component.