Pentagon pushes back EHR rollout

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Technical issues identified during testing of the Department of Defense’s electronic health record system are forcing the Pentagon to delay its rollout of the tool, the agency announced Thursday.

Stacy Cummings, program executive officer for PEO DHMS, told reporters that during simulations with Leidos, DoD determined that information exchange wasn’t occurring as the agency intended, Federal News Radio reports. She called the issues “solvable” and nothing “out of the norm.”

The Program Executive Office Defense Healthcare Management System (PEO DHMS) said in a statement that it expects the deployment of MHS Genesis, which it called “aggressive,” to be pushed back by “a few months.” The EHR--for which Leidos, Cerner and Accenture won a $4.3 billion contract last summer--was initially planned to go live this December at Fairchild Air Force Base and Naval Hospital Oak Harbor, both in Washington.

PEO DHMS plans to devise a modified program schedule within the next 30 days.

“We have a responsibility to our customers to ensure that all required test procedures and processes are completed in an orderly manner,” Cummings said in the statement. She noted that the extra time will ensure optimal user experience for patients and providers.

A 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 of risks potential delays involving the testing of interfaces needed to interact with legacy systems, as well as with cybersecurity testing and user training.

“We can’t optimize Genesis just for one military treatment facility, we’re doing this integration and these interfaces once, as opposed to a commercial hospital where they might have interfaces that are local,” Cummings said, according to Federal News Radio.