Industry anticipates MUMPS decision on VA's VistA modernization

Industry members have strong opinions on whether the Veterans Affairs Department should retain VistA's existing computer language is it becomes modernized

As the Veterans Affairs Department considers an open source development program to modernize its Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) medical record system, officials eventually will have to decide whether to retain all or part of the existing computer language of the system, according to industry members involved in the project.

The VA recently issued a Request for Information asking industry members to address concerns related to the proposed adoption of an open source development plan for VistA, including licensing and governance structures.

Though the RFI did not explicitly mention the MUMPS (Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multi-Programming System) programming language that is the basis of VistA, many industry members believe that it will be necessary to make a decision on whether to quit or retain MUMPS before, or during, an open source modernization program for VistA.

The topic is generating strong opinions among industry members.

Stakeholders include executives with a financial investment in existing open source VistA applications retaining MUMPS. For example, MedSphere Systems Corp.’s OpenVista is currently used in a modified form by the Indian Health Service and a number of public and private hospitals. MUMPS also is used in several other commercial electronic health record systems and in the banking industry.

“For modernization of VistA, we are recommending MUMPS for heavy-duty transaction processing,” said Rick Jung, chief operating officer of MedSphere. “MUMPS’ power to rapidly process transactions is unparalleled.”

MUMPS ought to remain the core of VistA, while other computer languages could be used for developing applications for related processes such as pushing data out to physicians, Jung said.

Ed Meagher, who chaired the American Council for Technology- Industry Advisory Council VistA Modernization Working Group chartered by the VA, said the group recommended that the VA consult with a federal laboratory to determine if MUMPS should be retained for VistA. He said the working group members anticipated controversy if they addressed the MUMPS question, and sought to avoid it.

“Why should we pick that fight? Let the experts decide,” Meagher said in a recent interview with FCW.

However, Meagher added that in his personal opinion, MUMPS should not be retained as part of a VistA modernization because it is outdated and because he claimed few MUMPS programmers are being trained.

“Is MUMPS the right entity? I think the obvious answer is ‘no,’” Meagher said. “It just happens to have a bunch of very committed people who want to stay in that environment.”

“MUMPS is a small community, not state-of-the-art,” Meagher added. “Where are you going to find MUMPS programmers?”

But Jung asserted that MedSphere has had no problems finding MUMPS programmers and the company is working with academia to strengthen training programs.

“There are many misunderstandings about MUMPS,” Jung said. “We have found no lack of development talent for MUMPS.”

Meanwhile, both Jung and Meagher said they were pleased with the RFI and with VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker’s recent statements about making a decision on whether to proceed with an open source VistA modernization by year’s end. VA officials were not immediately available to comment about retaining MUMPS.

“We look forward to working with Mr. Baker to facilitate the time frame,” Jung said.

“We are dealing with very important issues, and so far, no one has brought up any problems,” Meagher said. “There are challenges and concerns, certainly, but no one has said there are problems.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.