Wednesday, January 16, 2013

VA Sponsoring Contest

The Veterans Administration is challenging software developers to create new systems that will schedule appointments in the VA’s health system when veterans need outpatient and ambulatory care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).  This challenge will award prizes for as much as $3 million to as many as three entrants.

The contest is driven by the VA’s decision to transition the VistA electronic health system into an openly architected product and to challenge developers to offer standards-based modular components that can be extended and modified much more easily than customized products.

“This contest marks a major change in direction by the VA to move away from software that is so customized that only the VA can use it and move toward open standards and commercial systems that will build on proven practices,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The competition will help veterans by encouraging ideas to provide more personalized care.”

The VA uses the Medical Scheduling Package (MSP) a component in the VistA EHR system to bring patients, clinicians, and other resources together so healthcare can be delivered. The VA currently relies on the MSP to perform non-scheduling functions including workload data capture and a broad range of workload and other management reports. The system reads data from more than 130 other VistA applications and has read and writes functionality with more than 30 additional applications.

The VA intends to replace the current MSP with a scheduling product that is a standards-based, modular, extensible, and scalable, and certified as compliant with the fully interoperable production version of VistA now held by the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA).

The replacement product will as a part of the overall VistA EHR system, deliver privacy, security, data integrity, patient accessibility, interoperability and other services required by federal law, regulations, and VA policy.

Proprietary commercial systems are eligible for prizes, but all entries in the contest will be required to have open connections or APIs. Entries with substantial open source content will be especially welcomed.

Contestants may register for the contest until 12:00 noon EDT on May 13, 2013. Registered contestants will need to send a letter to attest that the potential entrant and partner organizations are eligible to participate in the contest per the requirement of the October 16th, Federal Register Notice. Contest submissions will be accepted until 12:00 noon EDT on June 13, 2013.

For more information, go to