DOD's electronic health records rollout hits 30% completion
- By Lauren C. Williams
- Jun 13, 2021
The Defense Department's rollout of the Cerner commercial electronic health records system is nearly a third complete, with 42,000 active users across more than a dozen states, officials told reporters on a press call on June 10.
Holly Joers, the acting program executive officer for Defense Healthcare Management Systems, said the latest deployment, Wave Carson Plus, of MHS Genesis wrapped April 24, marking 30% completion of the systems rollout across military treatment facilities.
That deployment was the largest to date, extending across 11 states and 20 military installations, adding about 10,000 active users to the system.
Joers said the progress to date means that DOD is on schedule for completion at the end of 2023 with the next 'go live" deployment called Wave Tripler scheduled for in Hawaii at the end of September.
"As of this summer we will have about 12 waves in flight," Joers told reporters June 10.
Joers said that while each wave and deployment has its own lessons that can be applied for future migrations, the adoption process has been set on what to expect.
"We're going down next week to kick off the Eglin Air Force Base and Jacksonville [Florida] waves. We start this process 18 months out with a kick off and a discussion with the commanders," Joers said, "and anything that we discover, whether it's a new medical device that needs to be brought online, we have a process to handle it that is efficient, effective."
As the deployments get larger, one of the challenges will be synchronizing and standardizing operational workflows particularly for joint facilities, such as the DOD and Department of Veteran Affairs-run James A. Lovell Federal Healthcare Center in North Chicago, Ill.
"The standardization of workflows and processes across the enterprise is actually one of the most important things about this system," Maj. Gen. Ned Appenzeller, Assistant Director for Combat Support, Defense Health Agency, said.
"But the most critical piece of that is because of that standardization, because it's done the same way everywhere, because it is so demonstrable...safety has improved."
Appenzeller said each deployment has become "less drastic" but still offers room for improvements in training, techniques, and procedures.
"One of the most impressive things is actually the data management capabilities that we have where we can actually see how much time people are spending in the record during duty hours and after duty hours," he said.
Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.
Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.
Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.
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