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Electronic medical records (EMR) are becoming a necessary part of a healthcare facility with providers starting to realize their benefits and encouraging facilities to upgrade their systems. VistA EMR is an open source electronic medical record system developed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. This system is also part of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA).
This system provides a server or client interface for healthcare providers, who can use it to review and update patient electronic medical records. As it deals with veteran's records, some of these are not released to the client themselves on request due to confidentiality purposes. Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of this software, as well as what you can expect to spend.
Pros of VistA EMR
VistA is one of the largest healthcare networks in the world, and its electronic healthcare record system is a well-known component in healthcare industries worldwide. VistA EMR supports the Health Level 7 (HL7) international standards. These standards are specifically for health information exchange and can be used in ambulatory, hospital, and long-term healthcare settings. The VistA EMR has important modules such as the CPOE (computerized physician order entry), MRIs, laboratory tests, e-prescribing, patient care diet orders, and clinical documentation. It is important to understand that the VistA EMR system does not include some important features, such as billing modules. This is because VA healthcare is free for all qualifying veterans. It is easy to download and install, not that expensive, and can be easily modified according to your needs.
Cons of VistA EMR
On the downside, there are disadvantages to the software as well. For one, the system requires a higher skill level than the typical EMR software system. If your team doesn't have those skills, you'll need to pay for training. VistA also requires a working, reliable Internet connection, which may present a problem for remote facilities.
Points to Consider before Using Vista EMR
- Applicability: VistA EMR is not applicable for every facility, particularly those that are privately owned or only receive a small number of veterans in a year.
- Ease of use: Your goal is an EMR system that is easy to use and has an intuitive interface, which helps reduce the need for training and ensures your staff, and system, are up and running quickly.
The Cost of Using VistA EMR
In addition to the cost of the software, you must also purchase the necessary equipment to operate it. If you choose a web-based system, this is nothing more than the computers and monitors (and other supporting equipment) needed to enter and manipulate patient medical records. However, if the software is self-hosted, you also need a network server, as well as personnel to maintain your network. In this case, prices are significantly higher.
Common prices and expenses for VistA EMR include:
- The system typically between $100 and $800 per year.
- License procurement may cost you an additional $300 to $500. This is only a one-time cost.
- Training sessions for employees cost between $500 and $1,500.
- System updates are included in the original price.