The CMS announced today it has contracted with the not-for-profit organization WorldVista to provide training to vendors that will install and service the soon-to-be released Vista-Office EHR software.
Vista-Office EHR is a joint effort of the CMS and the Department of Veterans Affairs to adapt the VA's complex Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture -- or Vista -- for the small physician office practice. Under the agreement, WorldVista will contract through the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care, which holds the contract with the CMS to develop Vista-Office EHR. Vendor training is to begin in September.
The release of Office-Vista EHR is expected in August. Versions of the software have been undergoing initial testing at two physician offices, one in Maryland and the other in New Jersey. It also is to be installed later this summer at four community health clinics in West Virginia, where it will be modified for delivery and use at multiple sites from a single computer server via the Internet. The so-called application service provider, or ASP, method of distribution could lower installation and maintenance costs over multiple sites, said David Campbell, chief executive officer of the Community Health Network of West Virginia.
In addition, the Maryland practice will be used to test an interface between Vista-Office EHR and a commercial lab, while the West Virginia installation will be used to test an interface between the software and an existing practice-management system, said Cynthia Wark, deputy director of the information and systems group in the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality at the CMS and an overseer of the Vista-Office EHR project.
Wark said the software soon will be shipped to 20 independent test sites, which will provide feedback on the ease or difficulty of following newly developed installation instructions and getting the systems configured for their practices.
Wark said the CMS is looking into the feasibility of making the software available though downloading from the Internet, but it also will be available on CDs.
Under contract with the Iowa foundation, WorldVista will help train vendors that are expected to help physicians install and maintain the Vista-Office EHR.
WorldVista was incorporated in 2002 by a group of people, predominantly current and former VA Vista programmers, who are interested in distributing an open-source version of the Vista software in the U.S. and abroud. To learn more about WorldVista, visit worldvista.org.