Some of you already know that VistA adoption has spawned several companies using the open source business model – i.e. take a free product and make money by offering installation, customization and support for the base product. One such player is MedSphere, offering VistA support services. There is another instance of a significant VistA adoption outside the VA.
What does this have to do with the government version of VistA? One of the basic tenants of the open source model is open licensing, meaning that improvements to the software are freely released so others can benefit. It’s a reflection of the academic research model: get paid to produce the research and the publicly release the results. In the case of VistA, this can benefit both parties. The VA benefits those trying to adopt VistA on the outside by providing the core EHR and new uses outside the VA can lead to new innovations the VA may later choose to use.