VistA: You say 'antiquated;' I say 'proven'

In response to a reader's comments on Joseph Conn's "VistA : A look back and a look forward":

It is a common American obsession that "new" implies "better." Every day, most of the world's Internet users search on Google for information. Google's services are powered by massive clusters of GNU/Linux systems. GNU/Linux is the latest version of 30-year-old technology called Unix. Of course, while GNU/Linux shares many aspects of the operating system first released 30 years ago, the capabilities of the new system are vastly improved. Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, or VistA, today has similarly eclipsed its 30-year-old predecessor.

VistA is the most-studied, most-verified and most-used EHR system in the world. There are significant problems with VistA software: It is difficult to install, it is written in an obscure language, and it is designed with only the VA's needs in mind. But, the fact that it has been steadily improving over 30 years is a good thing. The VistA community dealt with issues during the '80s that the typical proprietary company will face five years from now. Unless you understand VistA you are doomed to repeat it.

You say "antiquated;" I say "proven."

Fred Trotter

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