HP edging toward VistA support?

Summary:Right now HP, its business partners and channel seem to have gone half way down the road. They support open -- open systems, open standards. This makes it easier for HP to remain software agnostic.

Go to HP's health IT site and what you mainly see is hardware.

This is true whether you're a small clinic or a large hospital. Where HP does participate it's at the high-end in areas like medical image archiving.

One reason for this is HP wants to be the hardware choice regardless of whose software is chosen.

Some hints of change may be found at HP's former Avaya unit. Avaya, now an independent company, participated in the recent review of the VA's VistA software, an open source project since before the term existed.

Avaya has also renewed its own commitments to HP, in a new three-year channel agreement.HP views its role as that of a system integrator, often working with its EDS unit.

It's a balancing act. The question is how long it can continue, whether HP will be forced to make a choice between proprietary and open source solutions, and if so which it will choose.

Right now HP, its business partners and channel seem to have gone half way down the road. They support open -- open systems, open standards. This makes it easier for HP to remain software agnostic.

As our own Dana Gardner notes, HP has been adding oomph to its "converged infrastructure" strategy, the idea being that enterprises can consolidate their installations into the equivalent of private clouds.

But just as health IT is moving toward Software as a Service (SaaS), sometimes delivered through clouds, this move by HP opens up the same basic question. You say you favor open solutions, what about open source?

HP seems to be moving toward the answer "yes, but." As in "yes, but you can also go proprietary." "Yes, but we'll do business with you regardless." "Yes, but please buy our hardware."

That may be a good enough argument in the hospital enterprise space, but if HP is going to make an impact in the smaller clinic market it needs to get more specific. Avaya seems to be indicating it can take the "but" out of the yes.

It remains to be seen whether HP will agree. But it's moving in that direction, an acceptance of open source as part of its larger health IT strategy.

Topics: Operating Systems, Health, Hewlett-Packard, IT Employment, Legal, Microsoft, Software, Windows

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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