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MHS GENESIS: Continuing to make progress

Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency, and Ms. Stacy Cummings, Program Executive Officer for Defense Health Management Systems, answer questions about the progress of MHS GENESIS electronic Health record during the 2018 Defense Health Information Technology Symposium July 24 in Orlando, Florida. Navy Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency, and Ms. Stacy Cummings, Program Executive Officer for Defense Health Management Systems, answer questions about the progress of MHS GENESIS electronic Health record during the 2018 Defense Health Information Technology Symposium July 24 in Orlando, Florida.

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Senior Military Health System leaders met at the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium in Orlando, FL to discuss progress with MHS GENESIS. “We want to continue moving forward [and] we need to continue with our forward momentum,” said Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of Defense Health Agency. “[W]hile acknowledging some areas we have needed to make adjustments, we’re progressing forward.”

As the deployments continue, feedback from users is critically important, said Bono, adding that input is being processed and measured. Throughout the process, DHA remains committed to ensuring a high level of cybersecurity.

“We have a lot to share with the broader health care community and we are helping to raise the bar in the security environment,” said Bono.

Stacy Cummings, program executive officer for Defense Healthcare Management Systems, said the initial operational test and evaluation ended at Madigan Army Medical Center, one of the original IOC sites, on July 13.

“There has been measurable success in the adoption of workflows, roles and other efforts to continue to improve performance of MHS GENESIS,” said Cummings.

The final test report is expected later this year, with emerging results being evident as soon as this fall. “We’ll be working with the test community to get any feedback in real time so we can make sure we’re being as responsive as possible, and make sure that there isn’t anything coming out of the test that we weren’t already aware of and already working on,” said Cummings.

Cummings announced the next four sites for MHS GENESIS deployment, which will be known as wave one sites. These include Naval Air Station Lemoore, Travis Air Force Base, and Army Medical Health Clinic Presidio of Monterey in California, as well as Mountain Home Air Force Base in southwestern Idaho.

“The next waves of deployments will be the first facilities to field the standard baseline of MHS GENESIS and will benefit from the results of our optimization period, as well as improvements to our training, deployment, and change management strategy all based on lessons learned from IOC,” said Cummings, adding that the Military Health System is committed to identifying and delivering the right capabilities.

The MHS continues to capture feedback from users at Madigan, just as it did before and during the test period, Cummings said, and experts are already aware and working on feedback. She believes the test at Madigan is going to reinforce lessons learned and the MHS needs to go on to the next site to demonstrate these improvements – including training and deployment strategies, and change management.

Eventually, MHS-GENESIS will provide a single electronic health record for each of the 9.4 million MHS beneficiaries. It will be used by about 200,000 providers at 1,200 sites and has already received some positive feedback from users in the field.

“By far, the greatest way to learn the system is to actually utilize it,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dean Kang, pharmacy department head at Naval Hospital Bremerton for about eight months.

Kang was at Camp Pendleton, California, preparing to select orders when he learned Bremerton would be one of the four IOC sites for MHS-GENESIS.

“That was one of the reasons I asked to be assigned here,” Kang said. “I was interested in taking on a challenge and being on the front lines of this development. And the pharmacy department is usually tip of the spear in providing patient-centered care.”

Kang describes the initial period of MHS-GENESIS at Bremerton as exciting and hectic – and also exhausting. The go-live period coincided with a pharmacy department renovation that doubled the number of service windows from six to 12.

“There was some frustration, of course, because switching to an entirely new electronic health record is expected to have its challenges,” Kang said. “But we’ve taken a very positive approach to this. We’re working hard to increase efficiency and identify shortcomings while ensuring patient safety is our top priority. As an IOC site, we feel an inherent responsibility to identify the glitches and work on optimizing the system.”

Cummings said it’s only fitting, being at DHITS, to recognize the leadership role DoD has in developing and adopting an electronic health record.

“DHA oversees and continues to maintain several … data management systems that allow us to do our jobs today,” said Cummings. “The DoD should be recognized as a leader in the nation in adopting and developing new systems.”


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