With all of the recent talk about VA’s public media syntax and non-crystal clear comments on their enterprise-wide refactoring strategy, our team just wanted to provide a little clarity about where our contract is headed and what our project team is and will be working on.
In the grand scheme of things for VistA, VA requires that our team work on reorganizing VistA modules into more modular components and with open, standardized interfaces with a three-tier architecture in mind. Since refactoring all of VistA is a monumental task and not the intended product of our contract, we are starting with one module and seeing what successful methodology and lessons learned can be extracted for future refactoring; if time permits in the contract PoP we will then start the complete cycle of refactoring and certification for another module (currently undeclared).
It is intended that this refactoring will be useful to a developer currently, allowing the simplified code to act as a structured springboard for any future application development (or possible replacement); the code exhibits maximum usefulness for today’s open source EHR developer when used sooner rather than later for a long term (and currently unmapped) goal.
While iEHR is a long term and very important goal, it should be noted that the current refactoring efforts are for VistA alone…unfortunately this presents two valid but completely opposite assumptions: 1) Will VistA undergo replacement with COTS products for certain modules/packages, and 2) Why refactor VistA when iEHR is the suspected future health record application?
Our project’s refactoring efforts are working with/towards both of those assumptions: while refactoring certain modules can possibly allow for an easy plug-n-play with other efficient developed applications or COTS products, they also allow easier application implementation for whatever the future iEHR plan and goals may be.
Since this monumental project (iEHR) and its architecture haven’t been finalized, all we can do is work in the now and work to make it easier for open source EHR developers. Yes, planning for the future is always on our minds, but currently we are focused on making VistA better for today’s Veterans; if today’s changes are used to support future Veterans, then we have successfully completed two objectives.