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NEWS | July 17, 2023

Department of Defense stateside deployment of MHS GENESIS complete

By Ken Cornwell MHS Communications

Deployment of MHS GENESIS, the Military Health System’s new electronic health record, is complete at military hospitals and clinics in the continental United States, and now sights are set on transitioning overseas this fall.

When fully deployed, MHS GENESIS will provide DOD's 9.6 million beneficiaries and 205,000 medical providers with a single, integrated health record across the continuum of care. Features of MHS GENESIS include:

  • A modern patient portal that serves as the patient’s “dashboard” to see and manage appointments, send secure messages, complete pre-visit questionaries, and view clinical notes and lab and test results
  • Faster and better management of chronic, complex, and time-sensitive health conditions
  • A unique health library giving patients the ability to search for almost anything they would like to know about their health
  • Business tools that allow hospitals and clinics to accurately collect patient information at the start of a visit

“With the go-live at Wright-Patterson [Air Force Base], our final wave in the continental United States, [worldwide] deployment is now 86% complete,” said Holly Joers, program executive officer for the Defense Healthcare Management Systems.

This Wright-Patterson wave covered 6,800 clinicians and providers in military hospitals and clinics across Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Indiana, Texas, and Kentucky.

MHS GENESIS also went live within the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA Corps.

“This is the first time we’ve gone live simultaneously with another federal agency inside our DOD command center. We talk about expanding our federal partnerships, and this is a great example of that,” said Joers.

The deployment and implementation of MHS GENESIS across all military hospitals and clinics throughout the United States was on time and on budget. It’s an important milestone for the Defense Health Agency, and one step closer to the agency’s goal of providing a standardized and integrated health information system for all beneficiaries.

“I’m proud of the fact that we stayed true to our schedule and within budget,” said U.S Air Force Col. Thomas Cantilina, MHS GENESIS deputy functional champion.

Limited fielding for the initial operational capability of MHS GENESIS began in February 2017 at four sites in the Pacific Northwest. Since initial deployment, MHS GENESIS has undergone multiple upgrades, stabilization and adoption changes, and thousands of configuration changes. In September 2019, incremental deployment began and continued through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lessons learned from previous go-live waves improved efforts during the final deployment. “We succeeded thanks to the commitment of our health care teams, military, civilians, and contractors who adopted a can-do attitude every step of the way,” said Cantilina.

The DHA actively looked for feedback from users and stakeholders. These insights and suggestions were incorporated into the deployment strategy and helped identify and address potential issues in advance. The result was smoother transitions and better user experiences, according to Joers.

DHA also learned early in the process that it was necessary for all users, including health care providers and support staff, to get comprehensive MHS GENESIS training to do their jobs.

Joers called the Pay-It-Forward program, a peer-to-peer support program that bolstered an already strong training program, a “game-changer.” Active MHS GENESIS users volunteer about a week of their time to train their peers in the hospitals and clinics going through deployment. This program builds user confidence and speeds adoption, which maximizes benefits and minimizes any potential disruptions to patients or providers.

MHS GENESIS provides enhanced continuity of care, improved coordination among providers, and better access to medical records both patients and healthcare professionals, according to Joers. It also provides a new patient portal. She suggests beneficiaries learn about the patient portal and take advantage of the many features it offers.

The next MHS GENESIS deployment wave includes overseas military hospitals and clinics. It will deploy at numerous several bases in Europe in September 2023, including Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Royal Air Force Lakenheath in the United Kingdom. And bases in Guam, South Korea, and Japan will follow in October.

The DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs will also complete a synchronous deployment of MHS GENESIS at the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center located in North Chicago, Illinois, in March 2024.

Joers said, “Successful deployment of the federal electronic health record at Lovell FHCC is foundational to future joint sharing sites. By ensuring the departments can work together as a single unit without technology being a barrier, Lovell FHCC becomes a model for how we can do this across DOD, VA, and the broader health care industry.”

 MHS GENESIS will continue to evolve to improve user experience and offer greater access to data to improve decision-making. The plan is to leverage emerging technologies and innovations to enhance the system's functionality and make it even more intuitive, efficient, and responsive to the needs of users.

“Now that we are close to having the MHS GENESIS baseline out, it’s time to pivot,” said Joers. “I’m excited about our progress, but this is only the end of the beginning.”