What is VistA?

Veterans 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.