Tiag, a Reston, Va.-based management and information technology consulting contractor to the Defense Department and other government organizations, has been named by the Veterans Affairs Department to oversee a proposed open-source software development program for the VA's VistA electronic health-record system, according to a leader in the VistA community.
Tiag wins VA open-source contract
Frederick D.S. “Rick” Marshall, who heads the VistA Expertise Network, which provides consulting and educational services for VistA, said prime contractors that bid to become the “custodial agent” of open-source project were notified late Friday of the VA's award to Tiag. Marshall, a co-founder in 2002 of WorldVistA, a not-for-profit organization promoting the global use of VistA outside the VA, declined to comment further on the implications of the contract.
Tiag, according to its website, has worked as a management consultant with the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Army Medical Command, which operates eight Army medical centers, 26 Army community hospitals and a number of clinics. The company “provided clinical and functional informatics professionals who assisted in the development and re-engineering of the first Office of the Chief Medical Information Officer,” helping rebuild the trust of military physicians who had lost confidence in the Military Health System's electronic health-record system.
Tiag also assisted the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in converting its Coal Workers' X-ray Surveillance Program from film to digital images, according to the website.
Company officials were not immediately available for comment.
A goal of the VA's open-source initiative is to accelerate improvements to the VistA system, says Roger Baker, assistant secretary for information technology at the VA. Baker announced the VA was going ahead with the open source project at the VistA Community conference, organized by World VistA, in Fairfax, Va., in May. The bid deadline in response to requests for proposals on the contract to create a “custodial agent” for VistA was May 20.
VistA, one of the oldest and most widely used EHR systems in the U.S., has been under development at the VA since late 1977. Copies of the bulk of the software are available without charge under the Freedom of Information Act, but it is not true open source software because the VA has been reluctant to receive improvements to the EHR from developers in a growing VistA community outside the VA. One role for the custodial agent is to coordinate that development and thus harness VistA development both inside and outside the VA for mutual benefit.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.