The Military Health System’s new electronic health care record, MHS GENESIS, went live at four new sites on Sept. 7. David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base; Naval Health Clinic Lemoore at Naval Air Station Lemoore; U.S. Army Health Clinic Presidio of Monterey, all in California; and the 366th Medical Group at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, are part of “Wave Travis”, named for the largest wave participant site.
“It’s important when implementing a solution of this magnitude to remain focused on the customer, our clinicians and patients. It’s really not about IT. It’s about the patient,” Bill Tinston, program executive officer of the Defense Healthcare Management Systems, said. The program executive office, Defense Healthcare Management Systems, is the organization tasked with acquiring and deploying a modernized, commercial, off-the-shelf, single system electronic health record across the Department of Defense.
Once fully deployed, MHS GENESIS will provide a standardized, advanced electronic health record to more than 9.5 million Department of Defense beneficiaries, while providing an advanced platform for approximately 205,000 MHS staff globally. It enables the application of standardized workflows, integrated health care delivery and data standards for the improved and secure electronic exchange of medical and dental patient data across the continuum of care, from point of injury to the military treatment facility. Most importantly, MHS GENESIS enhances patient experience of care. In addition, the new system will increase efficiencies and improve patient safety.
MHS GENESIS utilizes the same software under development by the Department of Veterans Affairs for that agency’s new electronic health record system, and will be interoperable by default. When fully deployed, information between the two health care systems will be passed securely, conveniently and easily, helping to ensure a warm handoff of service members into the VA system of care.
MHS GENESIS also enables patients to access their medical records remotely through the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal. The system will drive better integration and standardization of care, with patients experiencing consistent and high-quality health care, regardless of location.
As medical technology changes, DHA will continue to build enhancements into MHS GENESIS that will benefit patients and providers. New releases, and/or significant upgrades, can be expected at least twice a year with smaller configuration changes made more frequently. Depending on the scope and content of the release, these events can be considered minor “go-lives.” They will require some level of build, testing, training and operational readiness activities.
Following rigorous testing, training and change management efforts during initial rollout in the Pacific Northwest, MHS leaders cite changes in training as key to addressing many of the system’s initial challenges.
“Those initial sites gave us critical feedback that informed significant improvements and upgrades in training, workflows and overall change management strategy,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne, the DHA’s assistant director for combat support and the MHS GENESIS functional champion said. “We’ve improved our computer-based and our instructor-led training, with very positive feedback.”
Payne said the implementation of a peer-to-peer support strategy has paid off, as well.
“We are also using a KLAS recommended ‘peer expert’ model where individuals are trained by experts whose job functions are similar,” he explained. For example, an emergency physician will train other emergency physicians; and front desk clerks will teach other front desk clerks, which capitalizes on peer-to-peer support.
Tinston said of the current activity around deploying MHS GENESIS to the next wave of military treatment facilities, “Working with the functional community, we have made significant strides since our initial site deployments. We enhanced our training, as well as ensured the network is ready for full system implementation. We have the right people in place, and I look forward to the continued implementation throughout the Military Health System.”
MHS GENESIS deployment activities for subsequent waves will kick off approximately every three months starting Spring 2020. Full deployment across all military hospitals and clinics is expected by the end of 2023. The next three waves involve additional facilities in California, Nevada and Alaska.