NOAA could start using Oracle Cerner EHR platform next summer

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. (Image credit: Getty Images).

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The office coordinating the rollout of the Oracle Cerner electronic health records platform across federal agencies says deployment of the system at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is targeted for summer 2023.

In a statement to FedScoop, spokesperson Cori B. Hughes said: “The Federal Electronic Health Records Modernization [office] coordinated efforts after a solid functional analysis to bring NOAA providers/clinicians onto the single common federal EHR currently used by VA, DOD, and the U.S. Coast Guard.”

She added: “There are 24 projected provider/clinicians that are USPHS officers located at 7 NOAA sites serving 300 officers and 400 divers. 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 Federal Electronic Health Records Modernization Office is charged with overseeing the rollout of the electronic health records system at the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Coast Guard and other federal agencies. Its director and deputy director report to the deputy secretary of Defense and the deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs.

NOAA is expected to implement the Oracle Cerner Millennium platform as part of the federal electronic health records modernization program (FEDHRM), which is intended to create a single, common health record for employees working at the DOD, VA, Coast Guard and other federal agencies.

In a separate statement to FedScoop, a NOAA spokesperson said: “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.”

According to the NOAA spokesperson, the DOD’s instance of the electronic health records platform, MHS Genesis, will be deployed within its Office of Marine and Aviation Operations to manage health records for the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.

Details of the NOAA system rollout come after the VA earlier this month announced that it would delay all future scheduled deployments of the Oracle Cerner electronic health record system at VA hospitals until June 2023.

NOAA has approximately 12,000 employees but only a few hundred of them are commissioned officers who would be affected by the adoption of MHS Genesis.

The DOD, VA and Coast Guard all deploy the same Oracle Cerner Millennium platform, however, each agency has a different name for the system. The DOD calls it EHR MHS Genesis, while the VA simply calls it the Electronic Health Records Modernization Program.

The VA’s EHRM system has been plagued by outages, and has caused major harm to some veterans who did not receive treatment because records disappeared in the computer system. 

Concerns over the impact of the system on patient care have been expressed by frontline medical staff, lawmakers and oversight bodies. Earlier this year, the VA’s Office of Inspector General published a trio of reports that identified major concerns about care coordination, ticketing and medication management associated with the EHR program launch.

Meanwhile, MHS Genesis has faced outages and issues of its own, but not with the same frequency and scale as the VA’s EHRM rollout problems.

The VA signed on for Oracle Cerner’s Millennium EHR platform in May 2018, while the DOD started using the platform in 2015 and is further ahead with its system implementation.

The Defense Department had completed over half of its scheduled rollout for MHS Genesis in June of this year, and expects to deploy the system on time by the end of 2023.

The VA referred FedScoop to the FEHRM when asked for comment.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect comment from the Federal Electronic Health Records Modernization Office.

Dave Nyczepir contributed to this report.

-In this Story-

Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM), electronic health records (EHRs), Laura Prietula, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, Oracle Cerner, Oracle Health Management System, veterans’ affairs
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