VA moves closer to IT modernization decision

Expects strategy to be set by year's end

The Veterans Affairs expects to make a decision by year’s end about modernizing its Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) record system, which could be a huge IT undertaking.


Is open source the answer for VA?

Before moving forward it will issue several requests for information from industry before the decision, VA chief information officer Roger Baker said in a conference call with reporters.

Baker said the department expects to make a decision on a modernization strategy by year’s end. Several requests for information will be published to solicit additional input from experts, he said.

“We have a lot of experts to hear from,” Baker said. “At the same time, it is important that we not unduly delay. In the next four to five months, we will hear from a variety of folks.”

In 2009, Baker asked the Industry Advisory Council to advise the VA on the modernization. Ed Meagher, chair of the IAC VistA Modernization Working Group, delivered a recommendation in May that the VA proceed with an open-source development program to replace VistA.

Asked about that recommendation, Baker said it was “good advice. It is being incorporated into our thought processes.” He also said it was important that the group’s recommendation was made public to “stimulate the discussion” about VistA’s future.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Fri, Aug 13, 2010 M Reston

Congratulations to the VA for setting up its own robust PMO and a brand new IDIQ on its own turf. That is quite the bureaucratic achievement. My condolences to the taxpayer. (T4 should be scrapped and VA should use the GWACs.)

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 donald dunlap Alabama

I have been told and seen in print that the VA software system is a relational database system (Clipper Summer 87). If I am wrong, no need for you to read any further. In the late 90's and during the y2k scare, I began offering a conversion service for these programs. I convert these programs to a windows version while retaining the user interface of the older system which the user are familiar with and like. I have also added features and improvements and generated a nice list of clients. This conversion can be accomplished at a fraction of the cost of what I suspect will be proposed by other contractors. If I am correct in my info of what they now have, who could I contact to not only present comment but a proposal....thank you for you assistance.

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