Distributed Hospital Computer Program (DHCP)

From Clinfowiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The Distributed (Decentralized) Hosptial Computer Program (DHCP) was developed in 1983 out of the DM&S Computer-Assisted System Staff (CASS) office by a small number of support centers in the VA. [1]

The system had a common databases and a database system, using the American National Standard MUMPS, which was written to be both hardware- and operating-system-independent. The CORE - the first set of applications to be developed and installed - consisted of modules for patient registration, ADT, outpatient scheduling, laboratory, outpatient pharmacy, and inpatient pharmacy to support medical administration, mental health radiology and dietetics. Modules to support other clinical departments and administrative functions were developed subsequently. By 1985, the VA had installed DHCP in more than one-half of its hospitals and clinics and in 1989 developed additional applications for dietetics, fiscal/supply, medical center management, medical records tracking, mental healthy, nursing, radiology and surgery. [2]

The DHCP system was meant as a distributed data system meant for use in local VA medical centers. Even though policies were directed from the Medical Information Resource Management Office, much of the decision making was undertaken by seven Information Service Centers and in working groups that included VA medical center personnel. [3] This decentralized database system allowed for decision making based on local factors and practices. [3]

In 1996 the DHCP system changed its name to VistaA as it evolved to include programming in Delphi. This rapid prototype technology with MUMPs foundation was readily adopted by many of the VA sites because it allowed local control over content as long as there was adherence to shared programming and a standard database.


  1. Federal Working Group: Hospital Information Systems at the Veterans Administration http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ota/Ota_3/DATA/1987/8710.PDF
  2. Brown SH, Lincoln MJ, Groen PJ, Kolodner RM. VistA--U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs national-scale HIS. Int J Med Inform. 2003 Mar;69(2-3):135-56. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12810119
  3. 3.0 3.1 Meistrell M,Schlehuber C. Adopting a Corporate Perspective on Databases: Improving Support for Research and Decision Making. Medical Care. 34(3) (Supplement):91-102, March 1996. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8598692