To encourage development of systems that help Veterans schedule appointments to receive care from the Veterans Health Administration and to reduce risks in the future procurement and deployment of those systems, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) announces a prize contest under Section 105 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2011, Public Law 111-358 (2011), 15 USC 3719 (the “Act”).

The goal of this contest is to encourage creation of systems that help Veterans make appointments to receive outpatient and ambulatory care[1] from the Veterans Health Administration.  VA also seeks to obtain information which will allow it to reduce the risks inherent in procurement and deployment of a replacement medical scheduling product.

[1] Scheduling of inpatient, surgical, and extended nursing care is excluded.

Contest overview:

  1. Registration until 12:00 noon EDT May 13, 2013.  A contestant must register electronically via this website (see Rules).  Eligible contestants' letter of registration letter is validated.  Eligible contestants are granted access to the virtual testing environment.
  2. Submission of entry until 12:00 noon EDT June 13, 2013  Entries are submitted electronically as specified under Rules.  Contestants, in order to be judged, will contribute the open APIs and any open source content in their entries to the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA).
  3. Judging
  4. Prizes awarded on or about September 30, 2013

VA uses the Medical Scheduling Package (MSP), a component in its VistA electronic health record (EHR) system, to bring patients, clinicians and other resources together so health care can be delivered.  The MSP also captures data that allows VA to measure, manage and improve access to care, quality of care, operating efficiency and operating and capital resources.  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.  

VA intends to replace the current MSP with a scheduling product[1] which is a standards-based, modular, extensible and scalable, certified as compliant and fully interoperable with the production version of VistA now held by the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA),   

The replacement product must effectively perform VA’s scheduling-centric and scheduling-related legacy business functions. It must also demonstrate it can meet non-functional requirements including integration with multiple instances of VistA.[2]

[1] As used in this notice, “product” means either a discrete software module which is installed on VA servers or a software service.   

[2] The replacement product will, as a part of the overall VistA EHR, deliver privacy, security, data integrity, patient accessibility, interoperability and other services required by federal law, regulations and VA policy.  Many of these services are delivered by other components of VistA.

The MSP is tightly integrated with VistA; it reads data from more than 130 other VistA applications and has read/write functionality with more than 30 additional applications.

VistA systems are localized at the hospital level and will remain so for at least the near-term future. Each hospital operates a separate instance of VistA. Portions of the VistA code are identical in each instance; different instances of VistA may have different interfaces between the MSP and other VistA applications.  

Any replacement product must not negatively impact any current applications that interface with the MSP or its data.

Effect on Subsequent Procurement. 

VA anticipates that compatibility with Open Source VistA will be among the requirements in any subsequent procurement of a replacement for the MSP.  Demonstration of open source compatibility in this contest may be taken into consideration in the rating of proposals in any subsequent procurement.

OSEHRA’s Role in the Contest

As the custodial agent for an open source community of VistA developers and users, OSEHRA plays a central role in the distribution and certification of VistA and VistA-related software.  Members of the OSEHRA community, both individuals and organizations, may develop contest submissions, singly or in collaborative groups, and community members may choose to use OSEHRA facilities (such as code repositories or working groups) during the development process.  OSEHRA staff members will perform the first phase of contest entry evaluation and will have no affiliation with any contest submission.  No member of the OSEHRA staff will participate in any discussion, work, or project group where contest submissions are discussed.


Please read the full rules for eligibility.


Please read the full rules for submission requirements.

Hackathon Sponsors


$3,050,000 in prizes

1st Place

2nd Place

3rd Place

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter

Contestants may register for the contest until 12:00 noon EDT on May 13, 2013.  Registered contestants must first send a letter (as an attachment through the website).  The letter must attest that the potential entrant (and partner organizations/individuals) are eligible to participate in this contest per the requirements of the Federal Register Notice of Oct. 16, 2012, and the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2011.

Only registered contestants may submit entries.  Entries are transmitted electronically as set forth in Section 5 of the Rules.  Contest submissions will be accepted until 12:00 noon EDT on June 13, 2013.  Contestants, in order to be judged, must first contribute their interfaces with VistA to OSEHRA (FR Notice CONTEST REQUIREMENTS AND RULES, 3. Basis on which a winner will be selected, 2.e. "Note: Entries that consist of proprietary code are not precluded, so long as interfaces with VistA use open APIs and the software implementing the interfaces in made available as open source").  Also see Sections 4 and 5 of the Rules for specific requirements. 

Winners will be announced on or about September 30, 2013.  


Department of Veterans Affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs

Judging Criteria

  • Entrants' test scripts and product demonstration
  • Open Source Compatibility
  • Non-Functional Requirements - Attachment C
  • Core Scheduling Requirements - Attachment A
  • Scheduling-related, VA-specific legacy requirements - Attachment B
  • Open Source Content

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