"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...?"