CCHIT closed applications on Feb. 14 for its fourth batch of testing of electronic health-record systems for the ambulatory-care environment with a record 35 applications received. CCHIT does not reveal the names of system developers seeking certification, but one of them self-disclosed: WorldVistA, the not-for-profit corporation formed in 2004 to develop an open-source version of the VA’s VistA system for use outside the VA.
WorldVistA is now the lead developer on the VistA adaptation, which has had the working names VistA Lite and VistA Office EHR, or VOE, and started under a contract initiated in 2004 by the CMS . . . .
The WorldVistA team’s credentials are impressive, but will a donation-supported, wiki-based EHR system really be a practical solution for small physician practices? Physicians would like to get some clinical return on EHR investment (hey, we all know that even a free system isn’t really free). The recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report about clinical returns on hospital IT investment is encouraging (see FierceHealthIT post with link to report), but it seems to me that most small physician practices will be looking for something with more immediate demonstrable benefits, with even lower initial technical and financial hurdles. (Some might even prefer to start with the AdSense-funded EHR, though that of course raises a host of other problems.)