Medsphere Releases Enhanced Open Source Electronic Medical Record and Server Applications

OpenVista Releases Coincide with Beta Implementation and Adoption of AGPL Open Source License

Medsphere Systems Corporation, the leading provider of Open Source healthcare IT solutions, today announced the Open Source release of OpenVista Clinical Information System (CIS) version 1.0 Beta and OpenVista Server version 1.5.86. Available for immediate download at, these applications compose Medsphere's Open Source electronic health record (EHR) system. OpenVista CIS provides a multi-platform (Linux and Windows), user-friendly and intuitive client interface through which clinicians can enter and view patient information. OpenVista Server is a commercialized version of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs VistA solution, developed over the course of more than 20 years and instrumental in a well-documented organizational turnaround at the agency.

The releases of OpenVista CIS and Server represent hundreds of development hours and incorporate nearly 500 updates and enhancements:

  • A new categorized orders view
  • Added growth chart functionality
  • Reorganized imaging functions enabling a more intuitive workflow
  • Spell-checking capability
  • Reflex orders

The Open Source releases coincide with the beta implementation of the OpenVista CIS Enterprise edition at Century City Doctors Hospital in Los Angeles, one of Medsphere's partner facilities. The coordination of the beta implementation and the Open Source releases effectively aligns the Open Source and commercial versions of OpenVista.

"We are pleased to be able to make available to the Open Source community our latest OpenVista CIS and Server versions coincident with their beta implementation at one of our commercial customers," said Scott McMullen, vice president of engineering at Medsphere. "We want individuals to have an early opportunity to take these applications and contribute further enhancements. The resulting collaboration and expansion of the Healthcare Open Source Ecosystem are important factors that drive Medsphere products forward as enablers of improved patient care and better outcomes."

With today's Open Source releases, Medsphere is also transitioning both applications from the GNU General Public License (GPL) for OpenVista Server and the Medsphere Public License (MSPL) for CIS to version 3 of the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL). Published in 2007 by the Free Software Foundation and recently endorsed by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), the AGPL expands the freedoms provided by the GPL to cover computer networks (the so-called Application Service Provider ASP loophole).

"With the transition to the AGPL, both OpenVista CIS and Server editions are now available under a common OSI-approved license, simplifying licensing terms," said Larry Augustin, Open Source advocate and Medsphere board member. "Together, OpenVista CIS and Server represent the only end-to-end, multi-platform Open Source implementation of the award winning VistA EHR system."

In addition to publishing the OpenVista source code, Medsphere also provides two simple ways for users to test the OpenVista EHR. The OpenVista Appliance provides a quick and convenient way to evaluate a functioning OpenVista system using a downloadable virtual machine. The OpenVista Public Demo is less set-up intensive and enables interested individuals to download the CIS application and leverage Medsphere's servers to access a demonstration data set. Both OpenVista platform products are now available through Medsphere's community Web site at

OpenVista is also available under a commercial license as part of Medsphere's commercial Open Source business model. The benefits of commercial Open Source are demonstrated by the experience of Medsphere partner Midland Memorial Hospital. With OpenVista, Midland achieved Stage 6 recognition, a measure of comprehensive electronic medical record (EMR) adoption, from the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics organization much more quickly and for substantially less money than any of the other twelve hospitals to have reached this milestone.

Medsphere's current activities include OpenVista implementations at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, and in facilities in the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR). OpenVista is already in use at multiple healthcare facilities and care delivery organizations, including Midland Memorial Hospital in Midland, Texas, several WV DHHR facilities, Century City Doctor's Hospital in Los Angeles, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County in Rock Springs, Wyoming and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Indian Health Service.

About Medsphere and OpenVista