U.K. considers adopting VistA

The United Kingdom is considering the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' VistA electronic health record system as it looks to expand open-source software for health IT.

The U.K.'s health secretary has created $394 million technology fund to facilitate "the rapid progression to digital records." In a report, U.K.'s National Health Service says it is "looking to adopt some of the ethos behind [VistA's] creation and potentially part, or all, of the technical product, in combination with others to generate 'NHS VistA'," while also is evaluating other open source systems.

"NHS England has visited the Veterans Health Administration to undertake deeper analysis of the product and the capability for it to be used within the NHS. We are now undertaking an initial assessment of product capability and the necessary customization that would be required to make it fit for use as part of NHS VistA," the report states.

It notes the VA is looking to develop a global community for VistA, and that it has configured for use and adoption in Germany, Finland, Mexico, Jordan, India and Brazil.

In March, the VA and U.K.'s NHS announced a three-year collaboration to exchange health IT knowledge and leadership ideas. A report launching that effort pointed to five areas in which the two organizations could learn from each other, including use of secure messaging and personal health records, and chronic and self-care management via remote patient monitoring and telehealth.

The Brits have been taking a hard look at teleheath, with studies failing to show that it is more cost-effective or produces a better quality of life for patients.

The new report introduces a clinical digital maturity index, a set of "home-grown" benchmarks being developed to help the health service better understand how investments in clinical information technologies can deliver better outcomes, improve patient safety and increase efficiency.

To learn more:
- find the report