Pentagon: New EHR rollout will now begin in February 2017

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A little more than a month after announcing a delay to the rollout of its MHS Genesis electronic health record system, the U.S. Department of Defense has released its revised timeline for the deployment.

The Pentagon initially planned to launch its EHR rollout at four Washington state hospitals in December: Fairchild Air Force Base, Oak Harbor Naval Hospital, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Hospital Bremerton. On Tuesday, Stacy Cummings, program executive officer for the Defense Health Management System, said that the system instead will go live at Fairchild in February 2017 and at the other three sites no earlier than June of next year, Federal News Radio reports.

The delay will enable Cerner to “implement clinical capabilities, complete cybersecurity risk management and test these capabilities” before launch, Cummings said. What’s more, she said, capabilities such as voice recognition and blood transfusion management, which weren’t expected to be a part of the initial rollout, now may be included.

“Those additional capabilities aren’t requirements at Fairchild, but they are at the other three sites,” Cumming said, according to Federal News Radio. “So in order to have the best possible user experience for our clinicians and beneficiaries, this made the most sense for long-term program success.”

DoD Office of Inspector General audit summary published in late May speculated that the initial EHR rollout plan was too aggressive, and urged Cummings to reanalyze the planned timeline. OIG warned about the risk of potential delays involving the testing of interfaces needed to interact with legacy systems, as well as with cybersecurity testing and user training.

The new timeline, Cummings said, accounts for those risks, as well as potential new risks.