DoD Affirms MHS GENESIS EHR Implementation Remains on Schedule

The Department of Defense (DoD) addressed concerns regarding its MHS GENESIS EHR Implementation after the VA confirmed it would delay the rollout of its Cerner EHR.

The Department of Defense is confident that its EHR implementation, MHS GENESIS, will be deployed on schedule and completed by the end of 2023, according to reporting from FedScoop.

In light of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ confirmed Cerner Oracle EHR modernization (EHRM) project delays, DOD provided an update on the status of its own EHR rollout.

“We’re continuing our deployments,” Holly Joers, Defense Healthcare Management Systems Program Executive Officer, told reporters during a press briefing Tuesday. “We’ll be complete with our deployments of 2023. We are in the same system as VA. So, as they continue, they always had planned a longer deployment schedule, given the number of sites that they have. So, no, that doesn’t impact our ability going forward from a DOD perspective.”

Both VA and DoD have started multibillion-dollar EHR programs in an effort to replace their legacy EHR systems, FedScoop wrote. The EHR deployed by VA is called Cerner Oracle Millennium, while the DoD and Coast Guard system is MHS Genesis.

The Cerner Oracle EHR systems intend to enable seamless patient data sharing between agencies to ensure a smooth transition from service member to veteran.

Despite VA’s setbacks, DOD’s EHR implementation continues progressing, FedScoop reported.

On June 11, DoD’s rollout passed the halfway mark. Following two large deployments, MHS GENESIS currently reaches 72 military treatment facility commands.

The Cerner EHR implementation is now operational at more than 1,500 locations with an estimated 114,000 total active users. Overall, the deployment is 52 percent complete.

“DOD has reached a tipping point where more [providers] are operating on MHS Genesis than legacy systems,” Joers stated.

“And as we head into the final stretch, we are focused on optimizing the new functionalities, and MHS GENESIS brings to the enterprise, such as the new trauma and burn capabilities implemented in January at Brooks Army Medical Center, new revenue cycle expansion capabilities to better capture the cost of providing care and looking at how we can continue to improve the patient and provider experience,” Joers added.

Even though DoD officials urged that VA’s EHR delays will likely not have major impacts on the agency’s own deployment schedule, they still addressed concerns related to VA outages and patient safety.

In response to an OIG draft report that revealed that a flaw in the Cerner EHR caused 148 cases of harm, DoD officials explained that they will be identifying opportunities to improve upon to reduce the possibility of patient harm.

“With any IT system, we do have to look at disruptions to service — we take them very seriously,” said Joers. “But in terms of outages from a healthcare perspective, we have processes and procedures to ensure that healthcare operations can continue in the event that there is any downtime”

“We will continue to look at the system to make sure that we are doing appropriate monitoring. Anytime we do see any, we have metrics in place to look at service performance,” Joers mentioned. “We identify any outages immediately if they exist, what are we doing for root cause there’s an incident management process so all those things exist and we rely on them heavily and we have for the last several years that we’ve been in operation.”

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