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Technology and Medicine: The Digital Age of Health Care

Image of Photo of an afternoon panel of four people. Day one of DHITS 2022 closed with a discussion about harnessing the power of data, transforming health care delivery, and clinical care at MTF’s. Photo is afternoon panel consisting of Bill Tinston, Holly Joers, Dr. Leslie Sofocleous, and Chris Ruefer (Photo by: Patrick Moore, Military Health System).

The Defense Health Agency continues to integrate systems across the Military Health System, including the new electronic health record and other IT resources

This month, technology experts, providers, stakeholders, and other specialists met at the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium to discuss the variety of IT resources available to providers.  

Integrating Health Care IT as A Provider

Supporting more than 400 military hospitals and clinics around the world, the DHA is focused on developing modernized tools to enhance care across the MHS. DHA has a variety of resources for providers to monitor patient records, see patients virtually, and improve their connection to care—as well as training programs for continuing education. 

  • Patient Records: Having secure access to a patient’s entire medical history is crucial to providing optimal care. MHS GENESIS, the Department of Defense’s new federal electronic health record, follows service members, retirees, and their families as they transition across the MHS. Additionally, a beneficiary’s records will eventually transfer to the Department of Veterans Affairs when they enter veteran status. No matter where patients might end up during their career, the records entered into their electronic health record will follow them throughout. To see the evolution of the program, view the MHS GENESIS timeline.

“Being able to track the warfighter's care in a single record—not only across the battlefield, but across their career at different bases and into their post-military care at the VA—means expedited, efficient, and seamless care,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Robert Cornfeld, chief health information officer at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. 

Holly Joers, the program executive officer for the Program Executive Office, Defense Healthcare Management Systems, focuses on modernizing electronic health records for service members, veterans, and their families. “When our service members transfer from one military base to the next, their record should follow them,” she said.

  • Telehealth: For some beneficiaries, online appointments might be easier. MHS Video Connect empowers providers to conveniently meet with patients through secure, live video, allowing for service members and families to access care where and when it’s best for them. Online appointments can assist patients who are seeking mental health help, treating minor illnesses, attending follow-up appointments, or providing prescription updates. Giving patients more convenient options may also lead to less missed appointments. 
  • Online training: To keep up with training, Joint Knowledge Online is the enterprise learning management system for the MHS. The program aims to move most online military health training to one location. Online training is available for providers within the MHS to continue their professional military and medical education. 

As the MHS community continues to embrace technology as part of their practice and learnings, providers can play a big part in moving military medical care into the digital landscape. 

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