New Military Electronic Health Care Records Program Still on Track

Communication Airman, Staff Sgt. Samuel Camarista and Maj. Brett Ringger work together to ensure the electronic health care records systems are running during ARCTIC CARE 2017 between Kodiak Area Native Association and military IT systems to better support medical providers before seeing patients in Port Lions, Alaska, on March 29, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Wendy Day)
Communication Airman, Staff Sgt. Samuel Camarista and Maj. Brett Ringger work together to ensure the electronic health care records systems are running during ARCTIC CARE 2017 between Kodiak Area Native Association and military IT systems to better support medical providers before seeing patients in Port Lions, Alaska, on March 29, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Wendy Day)

The Defense Department's new electronic health records system is on track to roll out at every military hospital by 2022 despite ongoing startup problems faced by pilot program users, a Pentagon official told Senators at an April 26 hearing.

"We have successfully deployed to our four initial sites and we received a great deal of feedback and lessons learned," said Stacy Cummings, who leads the rollout program for the Defense Healthcare Management System. "We are on track to fully deploy by 2022."

Cummings testified before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense.

The new medical records management program, known as "MHS Genesis," was first rolled out starting in February 2017 to four hospitals in the Pacific Northwest, including Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, one of the Army's major trauma treatment centers.

But medical staff submitted over 7,000 "trouble tickets" to Cummings' team after the launch, she said. Sen. Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, said problems included the system incorrectly processing prescription drugs, and such a slow login process that doctors "couldn't even open the program in a timely manner."

"In your testimony you sounded very positive ... but I just want to emphasize this isn't just normal IT problems. Patients' lives and safety are at stake here," Murray told Cummings during the hearing. "I don't want everyone to think this is happy-dappy-rosy, because there's a lot of issues that need to be addressed."

Cummings said her team has resolved 1,000 of the 7,000 complaints and has split the remaining issues into two categories: problems that need to be addressed within how the system is designed, and training issues.

Cummings said her team also made a system change this week that "significantly is bringing down the time to log in," she said.

"We recognized that log-in time was huge problem," she said.

Cummings said MHS Genesis will next be implemented at more West Coast hospitals starting in 2019, but did not give details on specific locations.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

Show Full Article