The Summit was hosted by the Open Source Electronic Health Records Agent (OSEHRA) organization, the custodial agent of the open source software code for the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs' (VA) VistA EHR system. While more than 50 private and State hospitals in the United States have implemented VistA, Oroville Hospital is the first hospital in the country to self-implement the open source electronic health record (EHR) system.
The hospital's extraordinary success has made Oroville Hospital's EHR implementation a “reference implementation”
During his presentation at the OSEHRA conference, Wentz outlined the significant challenges that CEOs and CIOs in private sector hospitals are facing today in order to sustain EHR implementations, including the end of the financial incentives from the healthcare IT stimulus, and perverse incentives for vendors not to support true interoperability. As CEO, his solution was to investigate and invest in Open Source solutions. Wentz told the story of how a software vendor refused to help Oroville Hospital migrate their patient data out of their application, instead demanding substantial licensing fees to continue the use of their program. The situation was resolved by having one of Oroville's open source consultants write Triplestore, a program that extracted the data and migrated it into VistA.
According to Wentz, Oroville Hospital's leadership saw the challenges posed by proprietary EHRs years ago and that led to their decision to implement VistA. It started with the accidental discovery that VistA could be downloaded online. Oroville downloaded a copy from the web and had it running in a test system in a short time. Then the hospital found a CIO that was supportive of implementing VistA in the hospital.
Wentz also debunked the myth that it is difficult to obtain support for open source products. Instead, Wentz says, VistA solution providers made themselves available to help Oroville in its implementation, including the VistA Expertise Network, the WorldVistA organization and several independent consultants including George Lilly, Rob Tweed, Mark Amundson, and Stuart Frank.
Wentz underlined the importance of OSEHRA for the VistA community. According to Wentz, having an organization like OSEHRA, working together with the VA, is going to level the playing field in a largely proprietary EHR market by just being in it. And speaking as a representative of hospitals across the US, Wentz said he is looking forward to OSEHRA continuing to activate and support an open source community to support and improve VistA.
About Oroville Hospital
Founded in 1962, Oroville Hospital (http://www.OrovilleHospital.com/)
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