In 2009 ACT-IAC was asked by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide an industry perspective on the issues, challenges and opportunities associated with modernizing the current legacy VistA system and make recommendations to address these issues and challenges and take advantage of the opportunities presented. The group was specifically asked to respond to the following series of thematic questions:
1. Is VistA a system that could be deployed to a wider community? If yes, what is the most appropriate deployment model: open source code; cloud computing; business process/methodology; other?
2. If VistA is deployed and used by other government agencies or private sector entities, what organizational and management structure should be developed? Possible questions include:
a. Which organization(s) should have responsibility for maintaining the system?
b. Should VistA be established as a national standard? What are the implications of this action?
3. What is an appropriate strategy for modernizing VistA and transitioning it to a more current and innovative architecture? The strategy should result in an appropriate, creative and agile acquisition and development plan. (NOTE: The project will establish the general guidance and principles for this strategy and will not be involved in matters pertaining to any actual acquisition.)
4. What are the opportunities and impact of modernizing and deploying VistA upon private industry, the healthcare community and other key groups?
5. Based on the above, what principles and best practices should be documented and distributed for use by other government agencies considering similar issues?
As part of the assessment, IAC was asked to consider whether there are principles or strategies that would be applicable to other legacy systems currently operated by the government such as those driving Social Security and Medicare.