Coast Guard Completes MHS GENESIS Cerner EHR Implementation

The Coast Guard has completed its Cerner EHR implementation after signing onto DoD’s MHS GENESIS contract in 2018.

The Coast Guard has completed its EHR implementation, making it the first service to fully go live with the Department of Defense (DoD) MHS GENESIS system.

“I’m happy to report that we have now gone live with our electronic medical records across the country,” Vice Adm. Paul Thomas, the Coast Guard's deputy commandant for mission support, said at a House hearing for the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on Tuesday. “We’re the first service to achieve that.”

The Coast Guard joined the DoD MHS GENESIS contract with EHR vendor Cerner in 2018 after a failed EHR implementation project led the agency to revert to paper records in 2015. A 2018 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that maintaining paper-based records at Coast Guard clinics led to incomplete patient medical histories and appointment scheduling problems.

“There’s no doubt we have struggled with IT acquisitions, and the reason for that is we’ve not looked at them as operational platforms,” Thomas said at the hearing on Tuesday. “That changed several years ago. We’ve now modernized how we acquire and sustain our IT systems, because they are operational assets just like a cutter or a ship.”

The Coast Guard’s MHS GENESIS implementation announcement comes five months after DOD announced that the EHR system rollout was 30 percent complete.

On a June 10 press call, Holly Joers, acting program executive officer for Defense Healthcare Management Systems, said that DoD is on schedule to complete the EHR rollout by the end of 2023.

As the rollout continues, DoD officials said that standardizing operational workflows across military treatment facilities will be key.

"The standardization of workflows and processes across the enterprise is actually one of the most important things about this system, but the most critical piece is because of that standardization, safety has improved," Maj. Gen. Ned Appenzeller, Defense Health Agency assistant director for combat support, said during the call.

The EHR implementation aims to support patient data exchange between all military branches and affiliated commercial care providers.

“The goal for MHS GENESIS is to consolidate health information into single platform and provide a continuum of care from point of injury to definitive treatment at any military treatment facility worldwide," Colonel Garrick Cramer, Commander Munson Army Health Center, said in an April statement.

"MHS GENESIS will greatly increase efficiencies for both beneficiaries and healthcare professionals through a DoD-wide, unified system that will also continue into the Veterans Affairs medical care system," he added.

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