Deployment of DOD electronic health record modernization paused

A banner marking Fairchild's 92nd Medical Group as an initial testing site for Military Health System Genesis hangs on the wall during the celebration of the second year anniversary MHS Genesis' implementation at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Feb. 8, 2019. Fairchild’s 92nd MDG was selected as the first Department of Defense medical clinic to launch this $11 billion electronic health record system and has successfully used the program since Feb. 7, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lawrence Sena)

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The deployment of the Department of Defense‘s new electronic health record system has been paused while all efforts are funneled to responding to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Military Health System (MHS) GENESIS program is delaying the deployment of new systems at DOD medical facilities but still aims to remain on schedule with modernizing its back-end IT.

“There are currently no changes to the schedule,” Cori Hughes, director of program integration, told FedScoop in an email. “We have made a few adjustments to our daily activities to ensure we do not distract our providers from their efforts to support the current pandemic.”

The Cerner-based system is to be linked with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ $10 billion EHR modernization program, which is also based on Cerner software for maximum interoperability between the two. Once completed, the program aims to have all military and veteran health data on one cloud system with integrated modern electronic health services.

MHS GENESIS was planned to be deployed to new bases every three months starting this spring. It is unclear when the deployment will resume with the ongoing pandemic response.

“We want to ensure our providers can remain focused on the pandemic and not be distracted with MHS GENESIS deployment activities,” Hughes said of the MHS system deployment. “In collaboration with our acquisition leadership and our functional champion, we will suspend MHS GENESIS deployment activities that distract our providers during their support of the COVID pandemic.”

The VA did not respond to requests for comment on whether it will be delaying its planned July go-live for the new Cerner system in its Spokane, Washington hospital due to the coronavirus. The VA’s program is currently in the training phase for the new interfaces clinicians in Spokane will use on the Cerner system, but it is unclear if the wave of COVID-19 patients has delayed that. The VA has been hit by an “onslaught” of veterans battling the virus.

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Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), electronic health records (EHRs), MHS GENESIS
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