Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

Ask the Doc: What is the Patient Portal and What Does it Mean to Me?

Image of Chief nursing information officer in-processing trainees into MHS GENESIS. Army Maj. Cynthia Anderson, chief nursing information officer for General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, oversees the in-processing of trainees into MHS GENESIS, April 24, 2021 (Chad Ashe, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital).

Dear Doc:

I have a few friends in the military medical community and I keep hearing them talking about this "MHS GENESIS Patient Portal" thing and how much easier it's going to make their job. I know a little bit about what it is but, not being in the health care field, what I would really like to know is what it means to me as a patient.

Do you know anyone that could provide a little more insight into what the Patient Portal is all about?

Thanks Doc!

-Patient Portal Perplexed

Illustration of a male face with the words "Ask the Doc"

Dear PPP: I realize there are a lot of changes going on out there with all the military medical treatment facilities transitioning to the Defense Health Agency. Things like MHS GENESIS and the Patient Portal are essentially the electronic side of that transition and just one more thing that we hope will make your life easier as beneficiary.

I contacted Air Force Lt. Col. John DaLomba, the health informatics support team lead and solution owner for the Patient Portal at DHA headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, and here's what he had to say about it:


Let me start with MHS GENESIS. That will help the Patient Portal make more sense.

MHS GENESIS is the new electronic health record for the Military Health System and the Department of Defense. The rollout started in 2017 in the Pacific Northwest, and it's been working its way, more or less, west to east across the country since then.

MHS GENESIS will replace the existing outpatient and inpatient electronic health record systems - what we call "legacy" systems - so that, eventually, all outpatient and inpatient documentation will take place within MHS GENESIS.

You are probably familiar with TRICARE Online. Your local military medical treatment facility will eventually transition from TRICARE Online to the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal, if it hasn't already.

So...what does this mean to you, the beneficiary?

The secure communication with your primary care team, appointment scheduling and ability to review information about your appointments and medical records will still be there, but there are a variety of improvements that will come along with the new system.

The secure messaging piece of the Patient Portal allows for what we call "asynchronous communication" with your providers. Beneficiaries can upload attachments of up to 25 MB, which is about 30 seconds of high-quality video and most pictures. In addition, patients are not limited to communicating just with their primary care team. They can communicate with specialty clinics as well.

You can log in to the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal and look up, print out or download clinical notes from a visit you've had with health care providers within the MHS. You can share that information with a civilian provider if needed. You can also view lab results and radiology reports. There's a health library that's available, too, so you can look up conditions and medications.

Once MHS GENESIS comes online at your MTF, you should also be able to make appointments online shortly thereafter.

Additionally, we've recently made changes to COVID-19 test results. They're available immediately and readily accessible in the Patient Portal. We also have the option to complete an e-visit if a patient suspects they have COVID-19. Once complete, a secure message is sent to their primary care manager so that team or that person can take appropriate action.

Another nice thing about this is that the DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs are using similar systems. They're essentially speaking the same language when it comes to electronic health records. If you're an active duty service member, or in the guard or reserve, this is going to help facilitate the transition from active duty status to veteran status. We spend a lot of time working with our VA colleagues. The interfaces of both patient portals should look and function about the same. Once we have this product up at all of our basic training facilities, an individua's medical documentation will happen on the same electronic health record system from in-processing to separation or retirement and beyond.

And don't worry about losing TRICARE Online immediately. It's not going anywhere for a while. You and your provider will still be able to go into TRICARE Online and retrieve any information that's there. Once we're completely transitioned to MHS GENESIS, then we'll start to phase out the old system.

We hope to have MHS GENESIS, and along with it the Patient Portal, "live" at all MTFs by the end of 2023 or beginning of 2024.


PPP, There you have it. It sounds to me like MHS GENESIS and the Patient Portal are designed to revolve around you, the patient. Keep an eye and an ear out for when it will be arriving at your local MTF if it's not there yet. I, for one, would encourage you to use it to its fullest capacity if you can.

Additionally, as we head into 2022, I would like to send out a special thanks to Lt. Col. DaLomba and all of the other experts that truly make Ask the Doc work. Without them, I quite literally couldn't do it.

And to our readers, as always...take care out there!

You also may be interested in...

Article
Jun 15, 2021

Ask the Doc: Senior NCO in the Know

Lt. Cmdr. David Griffin, a urologist at Naval Hospital Pensacola, discusses a treatment plan with a patient in the Urology Clinic. Some of the common conditions seen at the clinic include male infertility, sexual health, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, urologic cancers, blood in the urine, urinary problems, vasectomies and more.

Dear Doc: As I progress through my 40s, I'd like to think I've lived a pretty healthy life to this point. As a service member, I've kept myself in shape, ate well and always listened to my body throughout my career. Unfortunately, I can't say as much for some other members of my peer group. I know we are trained to be "warriors," and a lot of us feel ...

Article
May 26, 2021

Ask the Doc: Fitness Freaking Out

Integrating healthy snacks like fruit into kid’s diets will teach them healthy eating habits. September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sabrina Fine)

Dear Doc: It seems like every time I go to the commissary, my daughter, 6, and son, 7, tend to gravitate toward the sugary cereals and frozen pizzas, and always want candy bars and sodas at the checkout. As far as I know, and as has been proven by their regularly scheduled check-ups, they are both in great health. The mother in me wants to give them ...

Article
May 10, 2021

Ask the Doc: COVID Courageous

Spc. Andrew Buchtan, 1-4 Infantry Regiment medic, vaccinates Command Sgt. Maj. Deondre Long, Battalion Command Sergeant Major of 1-4 Infantry Regiment. Long said “I got the vaccination shot today because I did not want my leadership style to change. I am an engaged leader. The shot will enable me to develop a better relationship with my soldiers. It will help better interact with them without a standoffish leadership.” (US Army photo by Sgt. Julian Padua).

Dear Doc: I was afraid about getting my COVID vaccine at first and even entertained the thought of not getting it at all, but now that most of my friends and coworkers have gotten their first dose and some have even gotten their second, I think I'm ready. It seems pretty safe. That being said, now I need to know what I'm supposed to do to get it done. ...

Article
May 10, 2021

Eielson nurse says technology, readiness integral to military nursing

Military health personnel checking the ears of a patient

Air Force 1st Lt. Katelyn Schoneweis, a clinical nurse at Eielson Medical Clinic at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, said technology like MHS GENESIS, working with the Army and her commander’s increased focus on readiness have already benefitted her early in her career.

Article
May 6, 2021

Ask the Doc Seeking: Advice on Advice

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Janie Frey, left, from the Family Care Ward, and Teressa Harris, right, both registered nurses at Evans Army Community Hospital, from the Intensive Care Unit, answer phone calls Aug. 5 from the COVID-19 patient advice line.

Dear Doc: I've heard about something called the Nurse Advice Line, but don't know anything else about it. During the height of COVID-19, there were a few times I probably should have talked to someone about things like headaches, body pain, and allergies, but I didn't know if it required a trip to my military medical treatment facility during a ...

Article
Apr 15, 2021

Ask the Doc: My Nose Knows

Many people suffer from season allergies.

Dear Doc: I suffer from horrible allergies every year and I've just changed duty stations to an area that I've been told is especially bad for them in the spring. I've tried over-the-counter meds for years and nothing seems to work. With things starting to bloom, I'm almost afraid to go outside. How can I keep my allergies in check and make sure I can ...

Last Updated: November 14, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery