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14th VistA Community Meeting

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  • WorldVistA Community Meeting
When Jan 09, 2007 11:20 AM to
Jan 11, 2007 11:20 AM
Where National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD
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The goal of VistA Community Meetings is to allow those involved in the VistA Community to network & collaborate, i.e., to share ideas and work, with the objective of moving VistA & the VistA community forward.  VistA Community Meetings are highly interactive, hands-on, working meetings.  Please come prepared to contribute as well as to learn.

Compared to most meetings, VistA Community Meetings are relatively unstructured.  The agenda is always a draft agenda, because the attendees are free to change it – even during the meeting – in order to better meet their objectives.

VistA Community Meetings were originally almost exclusively technical meetings.  Over time, the balance has shifted, so that although there is still a strong technical focus, there are increasingly discussions on other aspects, including implementation, support, demonstration, education, training, and WorldVistA organizational issues (e.g., membership).

Please come prepared to discuss your interest in and work with VistA.  If you wish to present material, please come prepared with your presentation, either electronic or a poster.  There will be ample opportunities to present your work to others who are interested.

If you come with a laptop or PC, you will be able to leave with a free / open source VistA software stack running on it.  This stack is based on Linux; in the event you want Linux installed on your hard drive, you will be able to do this at the meeting.  If you do not have or wish Linux installed, please bring your laptop and a 1GB USB flash drive - you will be able to run a free / open source VistA stack without touching your machine's hard drive.

To send suggested changes to this agenda, please e-mail K.S. Bhaskar (bhaskar at bhaskars dot com).  Also, if you have actually implemented VistA in your organization, please contact K.S. Bhaskar as soon as possible.

Location, Facilities

The 14th VistA Community Meeting will take place at the conference facilities in Building 101 at:

National Institute of Standards & Technology
100 Bureau Drive
Gaithersburg, MD  20899-1071

See for directions.

For those planning to take the shuttle service from the Summerfield Suites, the van will leave the lobby at 8am.

Meeting Rooms

Plenary sessions will take place in the Green auditorium.

Tuesday, January 9

  • Green auditorium – seats 300; fixed seating

  • Employee lounge – 20-30 people, tables

  • Lecture room A – 88 people, fixed

  • Lecture room B – 88 people, fixed

  • Lecture room C – 50 people, classroom style

Wednesday, January 10

  • Green auditorium

  • Lecture room E - 40-50 people, classroom style

  • Lecture room F - 40-50 people, classroom style

Thursday, January 11

  • Green auditorium

  • Employee lounge


  • Breakfast is not provided.

  • Morning and afternoon beverages will be provided outside the Green auditorium.

  • Lunch will be provided – coupons will be issued and we will eat in the NIST cafeteria.  We are requested to eat at 12:45 or later on Tuesday, and 12:30pm or later on other days.

We are requested to abide by NIST rules and not bring food into the meeting rooms except the employee lounge.

Internet access

Wifi access to the Internet will be available in meeting rooms other than Green auditorium.  You will be required to sign a form to use the wireless Internet.  Non-standard protocols (e.g., Skype) will not work.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

At a plenary session on the first morning of VistA Community Meetings, attendees introduce themselves and their interests & objectives for the meeting.  Based on the interests and objectives, tracks are formed.  The structure of the meeting is plenary sessions of general interest interspersed with tracks working in parallel and periodically reporting back to the complete group.

Likely tracks for this meeting include, but are not limited to:

  • Technology (there is always a hands-on developer / technology track) – sharing development and ideas, version control, code management, web access, etc.
  • Demonstration – including technologies (e.g., live CDs, virtual machine based appliances); managing data (populating, refreshing and aging data to keep it meaningful)

  • Education – including programs, curricula, certification

  • VistA Office EHR – availability, technology, licensing
  • Standards compliance – CCHIT, CEN 13606, Open EHR, HL7, etc.

  • Promotion & public awareness – national, international
  • Internationalization

Call to order, announcements, meeting objectives, overview

Bettijoyce Lide will welcome us to NIST and review of NIST activities in the area of electronic health records and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
WorldVistA Summary – news; review of 2006; look ahead to 2007.  Presentation by Joseph Dal Molin.
Refreshment / networking break

Introductions; Plan tracks
Attendees introduce themselves and their interests & objectives for the meeting.  Based on the interests and objectives, tracks are formed.


Fileman – the relational database management system underlying VistA.  Greg Woodhouse will present an overview and tutorial on Fileman, the foundation of VistA.  Although the topic is technical, his focus will be general.  Understanding Fileman conceptually is important to understanding how VistA works.
Refreshment / networking break

First parallel tracks in the different meeting rooms.  Rooms will be assigned based on the actual tracks and numbers of people interested.  Among the tracks:
  • Depending on interest, K.S. Bhaskar will lead a session on booting and running VistA with a live CD and a USB flash drive.  Please bring a laptop and a USB flash drive of at least 512MB.

Report from leaders of parallel tracks at a plenary session.  Since attendees to VistA Community Meetings often have multiple interests, each parallel track reports on its work to the entire meeting.
Break for the day

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


VistA Office EHR – Overview.  Joseph Dal Molin will present the VistA Office EHR project, which is currently in Beta test and scheduled to wind down in January, 2007.  He will discuss the project goals, summarize its history, present plans to release the software.  There will be a Q&A session and a discussion of the future of this important project.
Refreshment / networking break

WorldVistA Membership – Peter Bodtke & Colin Smith will lead a session WorldVistA membership.  What do members of the VistA community want as part of their WorldVistA membership?  How can WorldVistA leadership better respond to and communicate with the membership?  How can the members help the leaders help the members (e.g., maintain sections of the website)?  This is your chance to speak up for what you want.

Parallel tracks in different rooms.  Among the tracks:
  • Kevin Toppenberg will talk about VistA programming (Part 1)

Mike Grambo will present his observations / findings from a visit to an Oklahoma State Veterans Home.

VistA Office EHR – Technical.  Cameron Schlehuber will lead a session on the technology of VistA Office EHR, covering topics such as:
  1. What were / are the design goals / functional requirements of VOE?
  2. How is VOE different from FOIA VistA (i.e., what's new, what's missing, what standards does it meet)?  Which release of FOIA VistA does VOE most closely resemble?
  3. What is the VOE life cycle model and how does it differ from that of VistA?
  4. How will we keep VOE and FOIA VistA from diverging?
  5. What will an implementer of VOE need to do to be able to continue to accept patches?
The session will include time for Q&A and discussion.
1545Refreshment / networking break

Parallel tracks in different meeting rooms.  Among the tracks:
  • (Suggested topic) Outreach & collaboration – What can the VistA community do to improve the awareness of VistA?  Given that the expertise in VistA is limited, and that realistically networks of experts will be needed to support VistA implementation activities, how can we organize ourselves better to make the VistA community both more effective and more efficient in what we do?
  • Continue Q&A on VistA Office EHR if there is a need for further discussion.
  • Kevin Toppenberg will talk about VistA programming (Part 2).
 1700Report from the leaders of parallel tracks at a plenary session
 1730Break for the day

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Plenary session panel discussion – Is VistA a Product or a Process?  It has often been said that VistA is a process, not a product.  A panel of VistA experts – Greg Woodhouse, Dave Whitten, & Norman Dodd moderated by Cameron Schlehuber – will discuss the subject and respond to questions and comments from the audience.
1030Refreshment / networking break

Parallel tracks in different meeting rooms.  In the technical track:
  • Greg Woodhouse will lead a discussion on selected topics from the theory of algorithms.

Parallel tracks in different meeting rooms:
  • Doug Goldstein and Marc Wine will present some of the findings from their recent book Medical Informatics 20/20.
  • Alex Hill and Uri Schor (the latter remotely via the web) will present JUMPS, a MUMPS to Java converter.
1400Refreshment / networking break

Plenary session:
  • Report from leaders of parallel tracks.
  • Review and summary, including feedback to the conference organizers and follow up.
Break till the next VistA Community Meeting