Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA)
In 1996, the Chief Information Office introduced VistA,
which is the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture.
It is a rich, automated environment that supports day-to-day operations
at local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care facilities.
VistA is built on a client-server
architecture, which ties together workstations and personal computers with graphical
user interfaces at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities, as well as
software developed by local medical facility staff. VistA also
includes the links that allow commercial off-the-shelf software and products
to be used with existing and future technologies. The Decision Support System
(DSS) and other national databases that might be derived from locally generated
data lie outside the scope of VistA.
When development began on the Decentralized Hospital Computer Program
(DHCP) in the early 1980s, information systems were in their infancy
in VA medical facilities and emphasized primarily hospital-based activities.
DHCP grew rapidly and is used by many private and public health care
facilities throughout the United States and the world. Although DHCP
represented the total automation activity at most VA medical centers
in 1985, DHCP is now only one part of the overall information resources
at the local facility level. VistA incorporates
all of the benefits of DHCP as well as including the rich array of other information
resources that are becoming vital to the day-to-day operations at VA medical
facilities. It represents the culmination of DHCP's evolution and metamorphosis
into a new, open system, client-server based environment that takes full advantage
of commercial solutions, including those provided by Internet technologies.