FAQs

Who is Medsphere?

We are the leading provider of affordable and interoperable healthcare IT platform solutions and services based on the VistA EHR developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA). We offer three VistA-based options:

Expand VistA
Medsphere’s Government Services Division (Medsphere GSD) offers a full array of development and deployment services to support both current and future versions, as modeled by current work in support of the VA and Indian Health Service, state governments and international clients.

Subscribe to VistA
A fully-integrated clinical and financial solution for hospitals and clinics, OpenVista is a robust open-source platform designed to improve patient care and safety.

Create Your Own VistA
Medsphere offers OpenVista Core, a “best of VistA” system combining development from the VA, the Indian Health Service and the nationwide VistA community. Building on this open-source foundation, Medsphere partners with you to create your own version of VistA.

What is OpenVista?

OpenVista is a complete enterprise EHR solution that any healthcare enterprise can afford.

Using comprehensive support services, we streamline the patient care process for hospitals via rapid deployment and support of OpenVista®, the first commercially implemented open-source software application for management of the clinical care cycle. With development roots in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) VistA solution, OpenVista is a responsible re-application to commercial healthcare of the federal government's $8.5 billion investment in the creation of an efficient and paperless clinical environment.

By commercializing OpenVista and offering it broadly via a unique subscription model, we provide healthcare with an economically sustainable EHR alternative that frees organizations from vendor lock, lack of interoperability, high cost and other pain points that have paralyzed the industry and precluded widespread EHR adoption.

What is your vision?

By its very nature, the provision of healthcare is a collaborative process. Consequently, we cultivate a collaborative healthcare community oriented around OpenVista as a comprehensive health IT platform. As an innovative healthcare industry leader, we are also amassing a significant data store of relevant clinical content. This valuable asset will be used to serve clinicians in their daily workflows by benchmarking best practices data at the point of care to improve quality and decrease costs. For a more detailed explanation of the benefits of open source, please refer to our white paper "Transforming Healthcare Through Open Source."

Why open source vs. proprietary?

By using open-source technology, we make software a commodity, which elevates the importance of services and creates a collaborative relationship with clients that is lacking in the proprietary model. Like the provision of medical care, open source is an inherently collaborative process that is improved by the sharing of information as part of a community. Some of our clients develop OpenVista themselves and some work with us on development, but neither is necessary in order to benefit from the enhancements made by the larger VistA and OpenVista community. We provide safe, reliable, and timely enhancements to OpenVista acquired from the VA and other community sources. We make it possible to affordably build customized healthcare improvement technology that enables better patient care. For a more detailed explanation of the benefits of open source, please refer to our white paper "Transforming Healthcare Through Open Source."

Do you continue to enhance the OpenVista software?

Yes. We have an expert development team that continues to improve OpenVista according to feedback from our clients and changes required by best practices and the federal Meaningful Use incentive program. We evaluate requests based on their value to all OpenVista end users. Those requests that are broadly appealing are incorporated into the product roadmap and receive attention based on priority and demand. Our original white paper, "From VistA to OpenVista," describes in detail the enhancements we have made to the original VA solution.

How successful has OpenVista been in non-VA deployments?

In partnership with our clients, we have proven the effectiveness of VistA outside the VA through successful implementations of OpenVista in facilities across the healthcare spectrum. The OpenVista EHR is deployed in the seven hospitals managed by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR), which provide acute, long-term and psychiatric care for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. Near the other end of the spectrum, Brooklyn’s 476-bed Lutheran Medical Center has achieved nearly universal adoption of OpenVista among clinicians. OpenVista is also enhancing patient care at Silver Hill Hospital, a nationally recognized behavioral health hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut, and Guadalupe County Hospital, an eleven-bed facility in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. The diversity of our client base demonstrates that VistA and OpenVista are designed primarily as clinical support tools capable of adapting to any healthcare environment or clinician need.

How many clients/partners does Medsphere have?

At last count, we have more than 400 provider sites using our EHR technology to improve healthcare efficiency and quality. Our diverse client-partner mix includes healthcare agencies, acute and long term-care hospitals, critical-access hospitals (CAHs), and behavioral health and psychiatric facilities. The mix also includes numerous Indian Health Service facilities. These client-partners serve highly diverse communities spread throughout the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. Many of our clients are safety-net hospitals.

What do I get with OpenVista?

OpenVista is a completely integrated EHR solution for the healthcare enterprise. It incorporates a single, integrated database for core and ancillary applications, including lab, radiology, nutrition and food service, pharmacy, bar code medication administration (BCMA), electronic medication administration (EMAR), physician and nursing documentation, computerized provider order entry (CPOE), clinical flowsheets and other advanced clinical functions. OpenVista also includes Insight, a fully integrated revenue cycle management solution (see below). Working in tandem with additional system functions, such as decision-support tools, these highly flexible modules enable care providers in virtually any care setting access to real-time information via a longitudinal electronic chart. Physician and patient portals are also available to enable Web-based, secure access to patient data and compliance with national interoperability standards driving Meaningful Use. Our white paper, "From VistA to OpenVista," describes in detail the enhancements Medsphere has made to the original VA solution.

Can OpenVista be used in an outpatient setting?

Yes, it can. Our EHR solutions are currently in use by more than 400 sites of care, including many ambulatory sites at the Indian Health Service and in clinics affiliated with our larger hospital clients. OpenVista is flexible and configurable to meet the local needs of facilities across the continuum of care. The graphical interface is easy to use and highly customizable to meet both the informational and workflow needs of various users.

Does OpenVista include a patient portal?

Yes. OpenVista incorporates a Web-based patient portal and Centralized Clinical Data Repository (CCDR) that consolidates patient data from multiple data sources, including OpenVista and physician office EHRs, through an Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI). The solution also includes a Clinician Portal for secure remote access to patient data.

What else do I need to get started?

The solution we provide through our subscription service includes OpenVista applications and the core Interface Suite, the First DataBank pharmacy formulary/decision support database, and the Mirth and Data Innovations interface engines. Clients must also acquire a database management solution (InterSystems Caché or Fidelity GT.M) and MySQL, a server operating system (Windows Server or RedHat Linux) and server hardware, if necessary. We partner with you in system and infrastructure set-up, so you will never have to face these tasks unassisted.

Does OpenVista include an integrated billing system?

Yes, it does. OpenVista Insight is a true end-to-end, fully integrated revenue cycle management solution that offers an ideal replacement option for existing health information systems and their costly, disparate bolt-on applications. With OpenVista Insight, hospitals, healthcare networks and behavioral health providers across the country are controlling costs, accelerating revenue collection and providing better patient services, all while reducing or even eliminating dependencies on multiple applications.

OpenVista Insight provides an all-inclusive suite of Patient Access (enterprise scheduling, patient registration, eligibility checking), Patient Accounting (universal billing, collections and payments, contract management), Claims Management and Informatics solutions.

OpenVista Insight enables healthcare providers to:

  • Streamline the entire patient access process from scheduling to registration to discharge to billing
  • Accelerate accounts receivable payment collections
  • Perform real-time payer eligibility checks during scheduling and/or registration
  • Integrate payer rules and enforce financial accountability
  • Achieve a true digital financial record (DFR)
  • Reduce billing delays and denials
  • Significantly improve clean claims rates
  • Eliminate dependencies on and the associated costs of third party “bolt-ons”
  • Get real-time information when and where it is needed
  • Accurately measure organizational productivity and performance via business intelligence

What standards does Medsphere use for interfaces?

We use the Mirth Open Source HL7 engine for all system-to-system interfacing. The cost of the solution is embedded in our subscription pricing and all interfaces are built and maintained by our team. For lab device interfacing, we standardize on the Data Innovations (DI) Instrument Manager. Our OpenVista Interface Suite is included in the solution and incorporates ADT, orders, billing, and transcription interfaces, among others. If a specific interface is not in the standard library, we can create it on a time and materials basis.

What is the typical implementation process for OpenVista?

Our Ready-to-Go implementation model enables all new clients to take advantage of the successful deployments that preceded them. In this way, we can reduce the project implementation timeline and increase the time-to-value, focusing significantly more attention on the change management, process redesign, and clinical transformation possible using OpenVista. Our typical implementation is a 9-month project, but it can be anywhere from 6-12 months depending on the size and urgency of the client. We put a great deal of attention on transferring knowledge directly to the client, ensuring that they are empowered to make their own necessary changes to the solution, thus facilitating contributions to the broader client ecosystem.

How do you price OpenVista?

Our subscription fees are based on the provision of services related to the deployment and support of a single EHR solution across the enterprise, requiring no significant capital outlay. Our flat subscription fee based on a five-year agreement, paid quarterly in advance, includes implementation, project management, a core suite of interfaces, training, updates/upgrades, product enhancements and ongoing 24/7 client care. Every hospital can afford OpenVista. For an estimate, please contact us at 1-877-MEDSPHERE or info@medsphere.com.

Does Medsphere provide support for clients?

We provide 24/7 x 365 support for all clients that have a service agreement with the company. Clients can report a problem by calling 1-877-MEDSPHERE or by e-mail.

Is OpenVista certified for Meaningful Use?

Yes, we are fully certified for 2104 Stage 1 and Stage 2 MU for both eligible hospitals and eligible physicians. This certified version is being used by our clients today as they attest for MU payments.

Specifically, our OpenVista CareVue electronic health record, version 1.7, received complete EHR certification from InfoGard for inpatient settings (certificate number IG-2449-14-0012) on April 8, 2014, and for ambulatory environments (certificate number IG-2449-14-0019) on June 25, 2014.

Click here for more info.

This Complete EHR is 2014 Edition compliant and has been certified by an ONC-ACB in accordance with the applicable certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This certification does not represent an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or guarantee the receipt of incentive payments.

What is a typical OpenVista server configuration?

Through the use of a single clustered server configuration with storage, backups, failover, and redundancy are provided for in case of disaster or other significant issue. Clients have the option to purchase their own hardware solution and can run the solution in a virtualized environment using existing blade servers, if available.

Are you a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company?

Based on your needs, OpenVista can either be hosted or deployed behind a client firewall. 

The OpenVista subscription is built on software-as-a-service principles and adapted to the needs of healthcare provider organizations. Our clients subscribe to our services—implementation, support, upgrades—for a set period of time and can install the software on-site or in a centralized hosting facility with access via the Internet. For hospitals or clinics that lack reliable Internet connections, we can deploy an on-site, remotely managed system. When deploying in a centrally hosted environment, our approach isolates individual client data and protects it from unauthorized access by other clients or unauthorized users.

Are you profitable?

We are supported by multi-year contractual agreements with our clients for a subscription service that defers a certain level of profitability for system affordability and the long-term sustainability of the overall strategy. Our unique business model is disruptive, proven and secure. Our opportunity to redefine healthcare and facilitate improved outcomes is readily apparent. Our experienced team is focused on delivering value and success to all clients and investors.

Investors include Azure Capital Partners and Epic Ventures, two of the most successful, selective and sophisticated venture capital firms in the country.

How is Medsphere invested in client success?

We are a service partner not a software vendor. The open-source business model demands that we face as much risk as our partners. Because the OpenVista solution is free, our bread and butter is the services we provide and our ability to provide partners with comprehensive knowledge, unfailing support and the freedom to innovate and collaborate. These aren't just words and ideas. We also build an at-risk value proposition into contractual agreements: We wager a significant percentage of potential revenue on our ability to bring a partner live in time to realize Meaningful Use and maximize federal stimulus funds. The point of both the open-source approach and putting revenue at risk is that we are absolutely committed to improving healthcare through cooperation and shared mutual sacrifice. Even in the short run, to say nothing of the long, we cannot succeed if our partners cannot also realize their financial and clinical objectives.

Is OpenVista difficult or expensive to maintain?

The question of VistA maintenance is a good one.

VistA uses MUMPS, a robust, mission-critical programming language that has been around since the late 1960s. MUMPS has been used by Wall Street for decades. While they don't advertise it, many of the leading proprietary health IT vendors depend on MUMPS for its excellent performance, flexibility and scalability. Those who know MUMPS love it because it is virtually bulletproof. In terms of supportability, the MUMPS-based VistA system has much better up-time than most of its competitors.

We work to make OpenVista accessible to all developers. The OpenVista Interface Domain (OVID), for example, layers a Java-based platform on top of the original VistA-based modules. A set of software development tools, OVID was designed to give developers easier access to OpenVista data. Our collaborative development model is one of several reasons OpenVista hospitals can achieve Meaningful Use in 6 to 12 months and for about a third the cost of proprietary systems.

It’s also important to keep in mind that, instead of buying software, our clients subscribe to a support and implementation services plan. While we work to make OpenVista open and accessible for those organizations that want to develop their own system, our clients don’t have to do development work to reap the benefits of adoption. Maintenance beyond the local help-desk level is included in our subscription service agreement.