CMS releases evaluation version of electronic health record software

November 4, 2005

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released an evaluation version of VistA-Office Electronic Health Record, an adaptation of the Veterans Health Administration electronic health record, for private physician offices.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released an evaluation version of VistA-Office Electronic Health Record, an adaptation of the Veterans Health Administration electronic health record, for private physician offices. The new version will be evaluated for usability, effectiveness, implementation, and the ability to communicate, exchange, and use data with other systems and software.

"The president has set a national goal for most Americans to have an electronic health record within a decade, and CMS is working with providers to make that happen," said CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan, MD, PhD.

A certification process will identify standards and minimum requirements to allow electronic health record systems to share important information across settings of care and perform the most important functions while maintaining privacy and security, according to CMS. The modified software retains such existing VistA functions as order entry, documentation templates, and clinical reminders, and is enhanced with additional functions, including patient registration, reporting of quality measures, and printing/faxing of prescriptions.

There is a small fee for obtaining the software on computer disk, and offices are required to pay other charges for using it, including licensing and support fees for the database program and CPT codes.