What's So Wrong with MUMPS?

I'm not talking about the disease -- although some folks treat it as such - but the software that is the heart of the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, the electronic health record system at the Veterans Affairs Department.

I'm not talking about the disease -- although some folks treat it as such -- but the software that is the heart of the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, the electronic health record system at the Veterans Affairs Department.

The big obstacle for MUMPS is the perception that no one except VA uses it, a simplistic view reinforced by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., during a hearing on the future of VA information technology systems on Tuesday.

At about the same time Burr was bashing MUMPS, the Coast Guard awarded a $14 million contract to Epic Systems Corp. for an electronic health record system based on MUMPS. That should be no surprise because Judy Faulkner, Epic's chief executive officer, founded the company in 1979 after working on MUMPS for VA.

Faulkner has grown Epic into a giant in the heath care IT field, including a megabillion dollar contract with Kaiser Permanente, which has 8.6 million patients and 15,000 doctors. The company competes with Genera Electric Healthcare, which also based its software on MUMPS. The last I checked, GE was no mom and pop oufit.

So, why, of why, do VA and its chief information officer, Roger Baker, want to move off a MUMPS-based VistA, and why is the Defense Department considering Epic when they can tap into the stable and free system Faulkner based her company on?

NEXT STORY Dick Tracy Inspired