Should the VA Upgrade?

Zenith_Z-19_TerminalWe know, love, and in fact specialize in legacy electronic components (specifically, Indramat motion control). We’ve spoken out against unneeded upgrades. We applauded the New Belgium brewery for judiciously upgrading and keeping legacy components in service when that made sense. We speak out for the opposite of planned obsolescence and for a conservation mindset.

There’s a limit though. Maybe it’s time for the VA to upgrade.

The VA Hospital system is apparently using software that hasn’t been updated since 1985.

In case you don’t remember 1985, here are some high points of that year:

  • The Commodore 128 was introduced (that was a computer).
  • The first internet domain name ( was registered.
  • Lotus bought the makers of VisiCalc.
  • Microsoft and IBM began working on OS2.
  • The company that would later become AOL was founded.
  • Super Mario Brothers was released.

The picture above is a photo of a computer from 1985.

The VA website tells a different story. Here’s how they describe their IT systems:

In 1996, the Chief Information Office introduced VISTA, which is the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture. It is a rich, automated environment that supports day-to-day operations at local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care facilities.

They go on to say this:

Although DHCP represented the total automation activity at most VA medical centers in 1985, DHCP is now only one part of the overall information resources at the local facility level. VISTA incorporates all of the benefits of DHCP as well as including the rich array of other information resources that are becoming vital to the day-to-day operations at VA medical facilities. It represents the culmination of DHCP’s evolution and metamorphosis into a new, open system, client-server based environment that takes full advantage of commercial solutions, including those provided by Internet technologies.

So they’re not working with a system from 1985. They’re working with a rich, evolved, metamorphosed system from 1996.

We were able to download their “monograph” describing their system. It looks slightly less modern than an Indramat manual , but they do sound pretty proud of their system.

Maybe it’s time for the VA to upgrade. If you are still using legacy Indramat motion control, we are your best and fastest option for service. We can also service your current IndraDrive components if you’ve taken the plunge. Call or contact us with our convenient form and we’ll get right back to you.

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