Vista EMR Payback or Cost

I found this article on the WSJ Health blog titled, “Study: VA’s Computer Systems Cost Billions, but Have Big Payback” Of course, I was intrigued since I knew how much the VA had spent on their EMR and so I wanted to learn about this Big Payback that the study found.

Maybe I’m reading this wrong (in which case I’m sure you’ll correct me), but the article states that the four VA health IT systems they studied had a $3.09 billion cumulative benefit. Then, they say that just the Vista system alone cost $3.6 billion.That doesn’t seem like a good return to me. Unless, I’m misunderstanding the first number and they’re actually saying that the benefit received was a total of $3.09 billion over the $3.6 billion spent. Yes, $6.69 billion in benefit. Does either conclusion make sense to you?

Of course, the most insightful part of the article/study was the limits on the data: “the VA has a unique, integrated structure that is more likely to produce results from IT projects and is hard to match in the private sector. In short, they say your results may vary.”

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • I do agree about vista, when we first started developing we looked at vista system architecture and adopted all its recommendations. They have a great site based data model that allows any site to see the other sites data. Vista users can adopt our emr that is essentially based on their specifications, but in a iPad, iPad touch, iPhone, and mac framework.

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