Help a US gov't agency switch to open source, win $3 million
The US Department of Veterans Affairs is looking to upgrade the 25-year-old software that powers its nationwide health care system, and it's betting real money that open source is the way to do it.
To that end, the agency is sponsoring a contest in which three entrants will be awarded prizes of up to $3m each, provided they can demonstrate software based on open source code and open APIs (application programming interfaces) that can successfully replace components of the VA's current systems.
To facilitate its open source facelift, in August 2011 the VA joined with the Department of Defense to form the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA), a nonprofit organization with the goal of overseeing community-based development of VistA [VA's current software] and its related components.
Specifically, the goal of the contest is to replace the VA's Medical Scheduling Package (MSP), which Veterans use to set appointments to receive outpatient and ambulatory care from the VA.
Proprietary solutions are eligible for prizes in the contest, but the entrant must provide the VA with all licenses needed to test the software. If the software runs on Windows, the contest entrant must provide a valid, licensed copy of Windows to run it on. And as with open source solutions, all APIs must be fully open no exceptions.
The contest is open only to citizens and permanent residents of the US and to organizations that are incorporated and maintain a primary place of business in the US. Entrants have until May 13 to register for the contest and they must submit their entries by June 13. The VA says it plans to announce the winners and award prizes on or around September 30.