Public hospital opts for OpenVistA EHR

By Jeff Rowe
08:41 AM

There’s no shortage of discrete EHR packages for providers to choose from as they look to digitize their records. But for some providers the solution may lie in programs that have essentially piggybacked on the technology used in one of the largest EHR systems in the world.

For example, Oklahoma-based Stiwell Memorial Hospital recently tapped Medsphere Systems Corporation’s OpenVista EHR system, which is an open source derivative of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affair’s massive VistA program.

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The 50-bed community medical center will take advantage of OpenVista's flexibility and comprehensive clinical support, as well as Medsphere’s rapid implementation process and clinical transformation services.

"For community hospitals like Stilwell Memorial — safety net care providers, essentially — the OpenVista EHR meets a need that the larger healthcare technology companies simply don’t," said Alan Adams, Stiwell’s CEO.

Stilwell Memorial will now become a participant in Medsphere's Healthcare Open Source Ecosystem, where clinicians, administrators and other OpenVista EHR users share system enhancements, upgrades and best practices. As the Ecosystem continues to grow, additional contributions will improve care for patients at participating facilities.

Using open source code available from the VA through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), OpenVista can be implemented much more quickly and affordably than traditional proprietary solutions. Medsphere’s subscription-based pricing model enables hospital, clinic and integrated delivery network customers to pay for OpenVista from their operating budget with no upfront costs or back-end balloon payments.

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In an article published last year, Michael J. Doyle, Medsphere’s chairman and the developer of OpenVista, noted that “Over the past three decades, the federal government has invested billions of dollars in the development of VistA, which the general healthcare community can now leverage for little to no cost ... Given the prohibitive cost of so many health IT systems and the financial challenges most hospitals face, the affordability of OpenVista represents a unique opportunity for hospitals to affordably improve patient care and receive reimbursement, in most cases, for the entire cost of a comprehensive EHR solution and in many others for two or three times the cost.”

Stilwell Memorial offers a full range of healthcare services, including general and family practice, internal medicine, urology, psychiatry, OB/GYN, ENT, orthopedics and general surgery. The hospital also offers emergency room, MRI and other radiology services, respiratory care, home health, orthopedic surgery and procedures, and physical therapy.

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