Making the Case for VA’s Transformative Use of Health IT as Cure for What Ails Healthcare

Author Phillip Longman takes ‘Best Care Anywhere’ message on the road in June, champions VistA/OpenVista as nation’s best hope for improving healthcare while controlling costs


SAN DIEGO, Calif.; NEW ORLEANS; BOSTON; WASHINGTON, DC—Medsphere Systems Corporation, the leading provider of open-source health IT solutions, announced a series of June events designed to educate healthcare providers, researchers, administrators and IT professionals about an often-overlooked national treasure.

Many experts, including author Phillip Longman, believe this multi-billion-dollar national asset, the VistA electronic health record system, is the cure for what ails healthcare. Says Longman, author of Best Care Anywhere, a book that documents the rejuvenation of the VA healthcare system in the 1990s and its rise to acclaim as the model for US healthcare delivery, “VistA offers a feasible, affordable path to successful healthcare reform—one that improves and extends patient care and safety rather than degrades or rations care.”

Medsphere has devoted many years and millions of dollars to extend VistA’s open-source affordability, interoperability and clinical transformation into the private sector. Key to this effort is Medsphere’s OpenVista® portfolio of clinical support products and professional services.

The June 2010 events feature internationally known healthcare thought leader Kenneth W. Kizer, MD, MPH, and VA healthcare expert Longman, among others.

  • As undersecretary of health for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Kizer was a leading architect of the VA’s turnaround. The award-winning VistA EHR, developed over the course of almost two decades at a cost of approximately $8.5 billion, played a key role in that dramatic transformation. Kizer was founding president and CEO of the nonprofit National Quality Forum in Washington, D.C. He currently serves as Medsphere’s chairman.
  • Longman is a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation and Schwartz senior fellow at The Washington Monthly. He is championing the Veterans Affairs’ model of care during his June speaking tour.

Longman will discuss VA health IT and quality achievements, and present a case for using VistA/OpenVista to help extend the “Best Care Anywhere” to non-VA patients, at a number of US conferences, including those listed below. Medsphere speaker presentations vary and are described below.

Medsphere COO Rick Jung recently chatted with Longman about these and other healthcare reform-related topics. A podcast of their conversation will be available for download on or before June 16. Click on “Best Care Anywhere” Podcast to access or click on Podcast RSS feed to sign up for free news feeds.

  • June 8-11: 21st VistA Community Meeting [Johnson Center at George Mason University (Fairfax, Va.):\
    • June 8 (11 AM): Longman delivers keynote address.
    • June 8 (1:15 PM): Medsphere Ecosystem Director Ben Mehling presents on “Medsphere Open Source Releases.”
    • June 9 (10:45 AM and 11:30 AM): Mehling and Medsphere Senior Developer Andy Pardue discuss Medsphere’s OpenVista Interface Domain (OVID); this new Java-based platform extends VistA/ OpenVista’s power and reach.
    • June 10 (10:45 AM): Medsphere client Howard Hays, MD, MSPH, presents “IHS—Certification and Meaningful Use and Plans to Support These Efforts in Indian Country.”
    • June 11 (9 AM)—Mehling presents the “Medsphere Corporate Overview.”
  • June 15-17: GEC 2010—National VA Geriatrics and Extended Care Conference [New Orleans Marriott (555 Canal Street in downtown New Orleans)]:
    • June 15 (8:25 AM): Longman delivers “Best Care Anywhere” keynote.
    • June 16 (8:25 AM): Kizer delivers keynote entitled “Predictable Challenges to VA Healthcare in the Next 10 Years.”

About Longman

Longman is the author of Best Care Anywhere, which chronicles the quality transformation of the VA and applies its lessons for reforming US healthcare as a whole. PoliPointPress released a second edition earlier this year. PoliPointPress released Longman’s latest book, The Next Progressive Era: A Blueprint for Broad Prosperity, co-authored with Ray Boshara, last spring.
Passionate yet highly evidence-driven in his advocacy of using VA lessons learned to improve healthcare, Longman speaks widely on the subject, most recently on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Memorial Day weekend. The former U.S. News & World Report senior writer and deputy assistant managing editor has won numerous awards for his business and financial writing. Click on Longman for a full bio.

About Medsphere and OpenVista