Kern Medical Center

Using OpenVista to achieve Clinical Transformation and Meaningful Use

A 222-bed acute-care teaching hospital in Bakersfield, Calif., Kern Medical Center serves a community of approximately 650,000. Affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, the county-owned hospital cares for more than 16,000 inpatients annually. Affiliated clinics provide care and services for more than 100,000 patients. The Kern emergency room handles roughly 43,000 visits per year.

Kern Medical Center

Media Coverage

Achieving 'Meaningful Use'

Jan. 13, 2010—Kern Medical Center CEO Paul Hensler discussed the hospital's use of Medsphere's OpenVista EHR solution to achieve meaningful use and qualify for ARRA funds with Former Modern Healthcare reporter Jean DerGurahian. Hensler said that "the hospital estimates that it will be eligible for up to $9.1 million in incentives over the five years (of the Medsphere contract)." Click here to access the TechTarget article.

'Advantage VistA/OpenVista' says Blankenhorn

Dec. 11, 2009—Dana Blankenhorn, a veteran business journalist and digital expert, had this to say, and more, after chatting with Hensler. [Click here to access "Why open source may win the electronic health record market" (]:

"Kern, a county hospital, has needed an EHR for some time. But getting a commercial system meant writing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a consultant who would write an RFP for a system, and a complex process of analysis to make sure what they ordered would be what they needed. Plus millions of dollars for the software.

Enter Medsphere, a commercial supporter of VistA software. Their OpenVista is open source. Kern could download it, call it free, and then sign a professional services contract with Medsphere for support.

Suddenly, a two-year contracting process could be squeezed into six months. And with the first deadlines for getting stimulus money coming in 2011, Hensler found he could suddenly get in line for some of that money, thanks to open source."

Kern Selects OpenVista EHR

Dec. 8, 2009—Click here to access "Kern Medical Center Selects OpenVista for EHR Implementation" (ADVANCE for Health Information Professionals)

News Releases

Dec. 4, 2009—Click here to access for the news release announcing "Kern Medical Center Selects OpenVista System for Clinical Transformation and Meaningful Use."


Even dinosaurs find OpenVista easy to adopt!

Medsphere's Dr. Robert Budman at Kern Medical Center
Jan. 19, 2010—
Medsphere Physician Executive Robert D. Budman, MD, [top left] speaking to KMC's Physician Advisory Committee meeting; one physician, who said he represented the “dinosaurs,” was able to successfully demonstrate his ability to use OpenVista in front of his peers.

KERN: Improving safety & quality

We are confident OpenVista will, most importantly, improve the safety and quality of care for our patients; it will also streamline care in Kern County, and eliminate waste, workflow inefficiencies and the inappropriate duplication of services."

Paul Hensler, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
Kern Medical Center
(Bakersfield, Calif.)


Our approach to meaningful use has been to throw it back to our vendor. So contractually we obligated our vendor to deliver meaningful use, however the requirements turn out.

"I think there's a lot of folks that are all of a sudden realizing that they're in a real predicament. What I sense from talking to other organizations is that they didn't take this quite as seriously as they should have."

Bill Fawns
Interim CIO*
Kern Medical Center
(Bakersfield, Calif.)
*Also CIO, Kern County