The Department of Veterans Affairs is reminding software developers of a multi-million dollar challenge issued last October to create an open source and open application program interface-based system to replace components of its 25-year-old scheduling software in the VistA electronic health records system.

VA announced the program on Oct. 16 in the Federal Register, available here. The goal is to get standards-based modular components “that can be extended and modified much more easily than customized products,” according to a department explanation. “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.”

The department will award as much as $3 million to as many as three entrants. The winners must contribute the open APIs and any open source content in their products to the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent. Registration is due by May 13, 2013, and entries are due by June 13, 2013. VA plans to announce winners on or around Sept. 30, 2013.

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