Is the VA going proprietary?

This is a big loss for the VA's VistA system, on which WorldVistA is based. This makes it unlikely that an open source lab software system will be built to the scale necessary for an industry standard.

Veterans Administration sealThe Veterans Administration has chosen a proprietary system from Cerner called PathNet to automate its laboratories. The same system was also chosen by the Department of Defense.

This is a big loss for the VA's VistA system, on which WorldVistA is based. This makes it unlikely that an open source lab software system will be built to the scale necessary for an industry standard.

Writes Medsphere co-founder Scott Shreeve:

I find the news from Cerner interesting, and concerning, for the long term prognosis of VistA within the VA. If anything, it should be a call to action to see if a community can rally around the "good enough" solution to make it market competitive.

Fred Trotter says this increases the risk of vendor lock-in in all areas of medical software. A proprietary system must be completely replaced, and the data re-formatted to the new system to be useful.

Without powerful open source solutions, the medical industry will be forced to choose among proprietary offerings.

The VA has just taken a giant step backward.