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MHS GENESIS goes live at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton

Image of Four military personnel, wearing masks, standing in front of two computer screens that say "MHS GENESIS.". Click to open a larger version of the image. Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton staff celebrate the implementation of MHS GENESIS at the hospital with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Pictured are Navy Cmdr. Adelaine Trask, pediatrician; Navy Lt. Andrew Veilleux, chief nursing informatics officer; Navy Lt. Raza Beg, chief information officer; and Navy Cmdr. Lauren Brown, physical therapy department head and NHCP's MHS GENESIS program manager. (Photo by Felicia Crosson, NH Camp Pendleton.)

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It’s official. The switch was flipped at 7 a.m. as the Department of Defense’s (DOD) new electronic health record (EHR), MHS GENESIS, was deployed at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton (NHCP), California on Oct. 31.

The deployment of MHS GENESIS was completed after months of extensive preparation, undertaken while also navigating through a global pandemic. The transition included intensive training for staff, internal infrastructure changes, and equipment upgrades, all completed while continuing to serve those who serve. In addition to the main facility, this evolution included the hospital's 13 branch health clinics, along with the clinic in Port Hueneme that went live Sept. 23, and Branch Health Clinic Yuma, Arizona will be flipping their switch in April 2021.

NHCP did not have to go it alone while implementing the new EHR, which was a massive undertaking in terms of hours and resources.

"The 'Pay It Forward' program, sponsored by the Defense Health Agency and Program Management Office, provides tremendous support to commands going live with MHS GENESIS," said Navy Cmdr. Victor Lin, Navy Medical Forces Pacific chief medical informatics officer. "The program leverages the experience of subject matter experts from current MHS GENESIS sites. These SME’s impart invaluable knowledge to new users, enabling a successful go-live evolution."

Staff from Naval Hospitals Twentynine Palms and the Air Force's 60th Medical Group Medical Center at the David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base both in California; and Naval Hospital Bremerton and the Madigan Army Medical Center both in Washington were all a part of the 'Pay It Forward' program and supported NHCP in their efforts to make this transition possible.

Once fully deployed across the enterprise, MHS GENESIS will provide a single, consolidated electronic health record for service members, retirees, and their families that will integrate inpatient and outpatient, medical and dental information across the continuum of care, from point of injury to definitive care.

One of the key features and benefits for patients is the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal, a one-stop shop for viewing personal health care and history that allows two-way communication between patient and provider. This portal is a secure website for around-the-clock access to individual and family health information, including visit notes, test results, scheduling appointments, and online prescription renewal.

Before MHS GENESIS deployment, patients were informed about the coming change via informational pamphlets, social media questions and answers, and provider education about the new system, especially the patient portal.

“We received a lot of great feedback and questions on our social media," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Lauren Brown, physical therapy department head and MHS GENESIS program manager. "Our patients were interested, engaged, and wanted to know what was going on."

Brown explained there are three different ways beneficiaries can access the new patient portal which all begin online at https://patientportal.mhsgenesis.health.mil. Once on the portal's site, beneficiaries can select one of the three options to logon: Department of Defense Self-Service Logon; Common Access Card; or Defense Finance and Accounting Service login. If beneficiaries already have a TRICARE Online (TOL) Defense Self-Service Logon, the user ID and password information will be the same.

Beneficiaries who transfer out of the area to another military hospital or clinic not using MHS GENESIS will resume using secure messaging through TOL.

MHS GENESIS will greatly benefit the staff at NHCP, as it will help streamline the workday for doctors, nurses, and hospital corpsmen while caring for patients by eliminating double order entry and double documentation.

“This command has put in countless hours of training and time into this transition, which has stretched across two different bases and multiple branch clinics in Southern California, along with preparing Branch Health Clinic Yuma for their transition, all while navigating through a global pandemic and keeping the patients we serve safe and healthy,” said Brown.

NHCP is just one of many military treatment facilities across the DOD to implement MHS GENESIS. Full deployment of the EHR is expected to be completed by 2022 and serve more than nine million beneficiaries.

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