Document Storage Systems, or DSS, a Juno Beach, Fla.,-based developer of vxVistA, an open source version of VistA; and NTT Data, an IT integration subsidiary of NTT Group, Tokyo, are subcontractors on the project, according to CGI and DSS news releases.
The main goals of the project are to replace the state agency's existing EHR system, now comprised of component parts, to improve patient record tracking, interoperability between state-run inpatient and outpatient sites, and to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness of mental health services, according to the formal request for proposals (PDF) on the contract. The contractors also will develop connections to external healthcare organizations using Health Level 7 message standards and transition the organization to the conversion to the ICD-10 family of diagnostic and procedural codes, the RFP said.
DSS, in addition to developing a VistA version that has been certified for use in the federal EHR incentive payment program, has experience in development and systems support within the VA, including several proprietary VistA modules such as mental health and dentistry. It is a member of the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent, a not-for-profit organization founded by the VA to improve its own VistA system through open source development.
VistA software is largely in the public domain and it was the desire of the Office of Mental Health, according to the RFP, to place the New York system in the public domain as open source software as well, although the state said it would “consider all possibilities,” including custom, proprietary and third-party software.
If completed successfully, the proposed “Empire State VistA” project will become the largest installation in the U.S. of a VistA-based EHR system by a state agency, eclipsing the open source VistA installation in West Virginia. That state's bureau of behavior health and health facilities runs VistA at one acute-care hospital, two psychiatric hospitals, four long-term-care hospitals, one nursing home and two ambulatory-care clinics. It has been operating there for six years.
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