The following has been extracted from a message received from Yrjo Jokinen, Director of Information Technologies of the University of Kuopio in Finland. Dr. Yokinen and his colleagues are enthusiastic users of VISTA. Over the past years, the VA and the University of Kuopio have successfully collaborated on several projects.

VISTA has been implemented all over the world, but one of the most successful implementations is in Finland. Over 50 % of the installed hospital information systems in Finland are based on the DVA's FileMan and Kernel. This is apparently the biggest concentration of FileMan/Kernel users outside of the United States. The family of Finnish-made applications packages, called 'MUSTI', is by far the most important hospital information software in use in Finland.

The University of Kuopio, Computing Centre, introduced the M and FileMan technologies in Finland in the 1970s and 1980s. Currently the Computing Centre is in charge of translating and localizing FileMan and Kernel to fit Finnish requirements, and to provide technical support to the software houses using these products. The Centre receives new versions through the DVA's FOIA Office, but have also had a low-volume two-way relation with the VHA development teams by e-mail. Many small corrections and modifications proposed by the Finns have been later included in the new versions of FileMan, Kernel and MailMan.

As with many systems, there has been growing concern about the user interface and the system architecture of the 'MUSTI' systems becoming obsolete. Therefore, two years ago a pilot project was established to study the ways of "modernizing" the FileMan/Kernel based systems in Finland. After a careful study (Karvinen et al., M Computing no. 1/1996), they decided to base the modernization on the DVA's RPC Broker and Borland's Delphi.

Hellevi Ruonamaa of the University of Kuopio was provided with the RPC Broker and FMComponents Preview Kit during the MTA'96 conference. The pilot project has since embarked on developing the first "modernized" application package, a Clinical Laboratory Quality Control System, with these tools. The experience so far is extremely encouraging. The pilot application will be ready for demonstration and beta testing by the end of January, 1997.

The Finns also have many additional innovative ideas which closely match the direction the VA is moving with its expanded VISTA architecture. To continue to build upon this exceptional working partnership, representatives of the CIO and University of Kuopio will meet to discuss how both parties can work in a collaborative mode to jointly advance each other's productivity. This meeting will take place in San Francisco in early December 1996.