Announcing the first release of VistA Novo

Hello VistA Community,

The VistA Novo Team is excited to announce the first release of VistA Novo, a proof-of-concept for an open source VistA developer toolkit. VistA Novo provides:

  • A straightforward RESTful interface to clinical information
  • Software that can access authoritative VistA based services and translate the returned information into a standards based format.
  • A testing stub that can be used to mimic VistA based services and provides a way to easily create mock clinical data for usage in application testing.

In our software release, you’ll find three major software components:

  • VistA Novo Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR)
  • VistA Novo Reference Implementation
  • VistA Novo Test Stub

VistA Novo FHIR Software Component

The first component is VistA Novo FHIR. This software package is an extension of the HL7 FHIR tool set which can be used to generate reference implementations of FHIR. The code that the VistA Novo team created as a part of this tool set will generate a JavaScript implementation of the FHIR specification. It is written in Java.

One advantage of using the HL7 tool set is that the FHIR team maintains it. Any changes made in the FHIR specification will be reflected in the tool set. Re-running the tool set with the VistA Novo extensions will regenerate the JavaScript FHIR implementation. This will allow users of VistA Novo to upgrade to the latest version of the FHIR specification with minimal work. This was tested recently as the VistA Novo Team regenerated the JavaScript reference implementation we are using for demonstrations to reflect changes made in the FHIR specification at the September HL7 Work Group Meetings.

Here is a link to the source code repository:

A downloadable version is available at the following link:

VistA Novo Reference Implementation Software Component

The second component is the reference implementation. This software is created as the output of the previous component. In other words, when one runs the VistA Novo FHIR toolset, it automatically creates the JavaScript reference implementation. We’re making this available as a convenience for developers who would like to skip over the FHIR Software Component. Additionally, this reference implementation of FHIR contains software to invoke VistA-based services to obtain clinical information.

This software is written in JavaScript and runs on the node.js platform. It makes use of the express.js framework for handling web requests and stores information in a MongoDB database using the mongoose.js library.

Here is a link to the source code repository:

A downloadable version is available at the following link:

VistA Novo Test Stub Software Component

Lastly, the VistA Novo Team is releasing our test stub. This is a web-based application for simulating VistA-based services. It provides application developers an easy way to create test clinical information. This clinical information will then be accessed by VistA Novo so that developers can rapidly test their applications against the FHIR API it provides.

The test stub in implemented in the Ruby programming language using the Ruby on Rails web framework. Test clinical information is stored in an sqlite database. The web-based interface was created using a tool called rails_admin, which generates the necessary forms for managing the test clinical data.

Here is a link to the source code repository:

A downloadable version is available at the following link:

VistA Novo Demonstration

We demonstrated this software on Monday, January 13 to the OSEHRA Architecture Working Group. A recording of this demonstration is available at:

Going Forward

We will be working with the HL7 FHIR team to contribute VistA Novo FHIR Software Component to the mainline FHIR tool set. If you have any questions about the software, please use the mailing list ( to ask questions or make comments. We are excited about this software release and can’t wait to see how the community uses it.


The VistA Novo Team