The Genesis of a New Military Health System
September 6, 2016 Leave a comment
By Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD Manager
One of the biggest IT projects in all of the Department of Defense (DOD) is the upcoming MHS Genesis, the military’s new electronic health record – set to go live in early December.
MHS stands for the Military Health System, which is comprised of the Program Executive Office for Defense Healthcare Management Systems, the Defense Health Agency, and the individual medical commands that fall under the service branches.
While much attention and focus will understandably be on the rollout of MHS Genesis in the coming months, there are other pockets of IT initiatives within MHS that will shape defense health IT for years to come.
Data management is seen by all health IT leaders in DOD as a key technology need moving forward. However, no single data strategy exists.
One of the key areas where IT leaders need help from industry is in exploiting the analytic capabilities that MHS Genesis will bring to bear. The new system will be designed to provide a consistent view of information across the continuum of care and store and update patient record information, even from remote locations.
The hope is that analytics will help influence senior decision making and even help local military hospitals better leverage the copious amounts of data it receives.
MHS Genesis will be the backbone for much of the big data and analytics efforts for the foreseeable future. The vendors leading that effort are Cerner, Leidos, and Accenture.
Mobility is another area where program managers expect to see growth as telehealth and remote health monitoring expand. Unfortunately, not all systems were built for mobility so the military health system will need to craft an enterprise approach to mobile applications that can provide accurate and secure health information to patients and provide telehealth to deployed forces.
Providing mobile applications or management solutions are just part of the solution. Vendors should be able to show how these tools can provide care for beneficiaries and an effective patient/provider interface. The services and even military treatment facilities are doing their own application development and device procurement. Expect this to eventually be centralized to within DHA
Over the next few years, DHA will be at the forefront of creating a reliable, robust infrastructure to support MHS Genesis. This common health network is called the Medical Community of Interest (Med-COI). These infrastructure upgrades will ensure that speed and access to data are in place as the new electronic health record deploys across the country.
Information sharing will be better enabled with stakeholders from the VA as well. The Infrastructure and Operations Division in DHA’s Health IT Directorate will be your focal point for Med-COI related requirements and procurement.
Whether it’s the new EHR, mobility or a revamp of the underlying infrastructure – much of what drives MHS’s decision around the procurement of technology is its desire to find ways to optimize how it collects, analyzes, and uses data provided by patients, providers, and research. If the MHS can effectively use and develop the available tools towards this purpose, then they can positively influence patient outcomes, the ultimate goal.
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