Valdes and Astronaut putting VA VistA in the cloud

A company launched by the founder of Linux Medical News is making the VA VistA software available in the cloud for the first time.

Ignacio Valdes (right, from his personal Web site) is a psychiatrist based in Houston,. He calls his company Astronaut Vista, so naturally the name for the enabling software is Astronaut Shuttle.

Shuttle was developed by open source health IT advocate Fred Trotter, who offered details on his blog last week.

Trotter admitted that VistA has been difficult to get working. Having it available as Software as a Service (SaaS), in the Amazon cloud,  eliminates that problem.

One of the more important functions of Shuttle is to act as a key server, Trotter wrote, so that even your Web host can’t access your patient records, only your EMR users can do that.

The software is still in beta, and Trotter was quick to note that Astronaut is not offering the kind of hand-holding that VistA vendors like Medsphere do. Still, using Amazon’s EC2 system, he estimates you could run an entire VistA system for just $100-$150 per month.

Astronaut has announced it will hold a training session for its software starting February 4 at a hotel near the Texas Medical Center. I assume coffee will be available in styrofoam cups, which we called “Astro cups” when I was a Rice undergraduate in the 1970s.

And, yes, that’s just a few blocks north of the old Astrodome.