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LinuxMedNews: VistA and MUMPS: Big, Ugly, and Proud

Nov 02, 2005, 12:15 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ignacio H. Valdes)

[ Thanks to I. Valdes for this link. ]

"The Veterans Affairs (VA) VistA Electronic Medical Record is based on MUMPS, a programming language designed specifically for healthcare in the 1960's. People and organizations are rarely neutral on both public domain VistA-the-software, and MUMPS the language. VistA the software is almost universally liked by the doctors and nurses of the VA doing clinical work. VistA and MUMPS is also loathed by programmers, competitors and outsiders to the VA. VistA is big, the language it is written in is ugly, they say. Yet there is a jarring contradiction. By most accounts and measures the software, with appropriate support and knowledgeable configuration, works and works well. The MUMPS language also seems to work for private sector EMR companies such as Epic. In a field that is littered with the corpses of companies that have tried and failed to create useful, commercially viable EMR software, this success counts for a lot. Why is it so successful...?"

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