NOAA May Join Federal EHRM Program to Deploy Oracle Cerner EHR System

NOAA plans to deploy the Oracle Cerner EHR platform as part of the Federal EHRM program, joining an integrated system that aligns with the VA, DOD, and the US Coast Guard.

The Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) program’s ongoing effort to deploy the Oracle Cerner EHR system across federal agencies may now include The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), according to reporting from FedScoop.

If the anticipated EHR implementation, targeted for summer 2023, goes successfully, NOAA will be connected to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Defense (DOD), and Homeland Security’s US Coast Guard (USCG) through a single, common EHR.

“The mission for EHRM – the vision really – is for each veteran to have a comprehensive health record that is accessible across the Department of Veterans Affairs, DoD [Department of Defense], US Coast Guard, and communicate [to] providers,” Laura Prietula, the deputy chief information officer (CIO) for the EHRM program, said during an FCW event.

“This will enhance the quality of their health care – and soon we’re probably going to also have another Federal agency joining us,” Prietula implied.

According to an NOAA spokesperson, the DOD’s Oracle Cerner EHR system, MHS Genesis, will be deployed throughout NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations to manage health records for the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.

NOAA has nearly 12,000 employees, but only a couple hundred are commissioned officers who would be impacted by the MHS Genesis implementation.

“There are 24 projected provider/clinicians that are USPHS officers located at 7 NOAA sites serving 300 officers and 400 divers,” said Cori B Hughes, FEHRM spokeswoman, according to FedScoop. “For NOAA, our Leidos Partnership for Defense Health will implement MHS GENESIS as a standard package. NOAA’s deployment is targeted for summer 2023.”

The DOD, VA, and Coast Guard deploy the same Oracle Cerner platform. However, each agency has a different name for the system. Cerner Oracle Millennium is the EHR to be deployed by the VA, while the DoD and Coast Guard system is called MHS Genesis.

“Office of Marine and Aviation Operations will use the Department of Defense’s MHS Genesis electronic health records system to manage records for the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps,” an NOAA spokeswoman said in a separate statement to FedScoop.

“The system meets the security requirements for NOAA uniformed service members’ health records and integrates with the medical care system used by all uniformed service officers. No timeline for implementation is available at this stage.”

This announcement comes as the DoD and VA work to implement their version of the EHR system across medical facilities. DoD began its modernization efforts with Oracle Cerner in 2015.

Currently, more than half of all Military Health System (MHS) providers are using MHS GENESIS, which is the centerpiece of a larger transformation to standardize, integrate, and manage health data across the DoD.

Despite several setbacks, the  Defense Health Agency (DHA) is on track and plans to have MHS GENESIS live at 138 military hospitals and clinic commands worldwide by the end of 2023.

Meanwhile, the VA’s EHRM has postponed all upcoming EHR implementations of its Oracle Cerner system until June 2023 to address system challenges.

“Right now, the Oracle Cerner electronic health record system is not delivering for Veterans or VA health care providers – and we are holding Oracle Cerner and ourselves accountable to get this right,” Donald Remy, deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs, noted in a press release.

“We are delaying all future deployments of the new EHR while we fully assess performance and address every concern,” he added. “Veterans and clinicians deserve a seamless, modernized health record system, and we will not rest until they get it.”

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