DOD’s new EHR system looks to standardize care, improve interoperability

Defense Department officials expressed high hopes for its new $4.3 billion EHR system that officially launched last week, indicating that it will boost patient engagement and improve care.

During an event announcing the rollout of MHS Genesis at Fairchild Airforce Base in Washington, Colonel Ryan Samuelson highlighted the improved access that is particularly beneficial to military members who frequently change locations.

“The need to ensure patient records are easily transportable, secure and accurate is not merely a convenience, it is an absolute necessity to military readiness,” he said.

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Dr. Paul Cordts, the Military Health System’s functional champion of MHS Genesis, underscored the importance of the modernized alert system that automatically suggests prescription modifications. He noted that the system would help the DOD’s health system on its “path to high reliability” by standardizing care processes and reducing variation.

U.S. Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Mark Ediger said the system would strengthen the relationship with patients and service members and improve collaboration with other healthcare facilities. 

“In medicine today, we leverage a lot of different skill sets on a health care team,” Ediger said in a press release. MHS Genesis "goes well beyond the traditional doctor-patient interaction and leverages skill sets such as nutrition, exercise physiology and disease management. It’s a very collaborative tool that allows the team to share a common picture.”

MHS Genesis was scheduled to launch at Fairchild and Naval Hospital Oak Harbor in December but was pushed back to resolve technical issues. DOD officials said the system is on track to launch in three other facilities in Washington during the summer. Full deployment will be completed in 2022.

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Stacy Cummings, program executive officer of Defense Healthcare Management Systems, said the system will improve communication with other health systems, including the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA has come under fire recently for failing to upgrade legacy systems. VA officials have said they are looking at purchasing a commercial, off-the-shelf product similar to MHS Genesis.