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MHS GENESIS, DoD’s new EHR system, lands at Edwards AFB

Military personnel standing and sitting at a desk with multiple computer screens Edwards AFB clinic’s mental health technicians Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabriel Osirus, Senior Airmen Vanessa Risner, Airman 1st Class Sharon Abeysekara, and Airman 1st Class Yarely Brookshire (left to right) check in a patient together on the new MHS GENESIS electronic health record. The new EHR went live at Edwards on September 26. (Photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Cebulski, 412th Medical Group.)

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On September 26, the 412th Medical Group at Edwards Air Force Base, California transitioned to the new electronic health record (EHR) system – known as MHS GENESIS.

MHS GENESIS is being implemented at DOD hospitals and clinics in a phased approach over the next several years, with 18 military medical treatment facilities already using the new system. This new EHE will provide better quality of care and improved safety for service members and their families by becoming the single medical and dental record that all doctors, dentists, nurses, medical technicians and other healthcare providers will use manage patients' care.

The goal for MHS GENESIS is to consolidate health information into single platform and provide a continuum of care from point of injury to definitive treatment at any military treatment facility worldwide," said Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Rivers, 412th Medical Group, MHS GENESIS Go-Live Command Center Director. "MHS GENESIS will greatly increase efficiencies for both beneficiaries and healthcare professionals through a DoD-wide, unified system that will also continue into the Veterans Affairs medical care system."

Ultimately, this single platform will offer a seamless continuity of medical records for service members and their families, Rivers added.

According to Rivers, the benefits of incorporating MHS GENESIS for airmen and their families, centers around the integration of this electronic health record with patient centered medical care. The improved ability to facilitate two way communication will increase patient-provider interaction and promote patient safety, greater population health, as well as quicker medical record availability. 

Rivers also added that visit summaries are quickly available at the end of each appointment and visible online 72 hours post-visit via the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal. The MHS GENESIS's Patient Portal will support beneficiaries by allowing them to securely message their care provider team, request prescription renewals, view their lab results, make appointments on-line and access their medical records.

Patients were able to start using the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal to communicate with their care team at the end of September. The Patient Portal offers a number of services to assist in managing patients' healthcare and is mobile-phone friendly.

As with any new technology adoption, the MHS Genesis transition team has warned that it will take time for clinic staff to learn how to efficiently navigate the system which may cause longer than routine wait times. As a reminder, active duty dependents and TRICARE beneficiaries may use off base urgent care without a referral. Active duty service members may also use off base urgent care, but require a referral.

"While this transition has been planned for quite some time, we used a phased approach to our transition to MHS Genesis," Rivers explained. "First, we have reduced the amount of daily appointments as we transition to our new electronic health record in order to focus on providing safe and patient centered healthcare. Next, we incorporated lessons learned from previous integrations at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis AFB, and the 366th Medical Group at Mountain Home AFB."

The MHS GENESIS Transition Command Center was established to monitor daily issues and work rapid mitigations during the first 14 days of the transition. 

"In addition, we also leveraged experience from members across the Defense Health Agency who were on site to assist medical staff with workflow builds and system checks to expedite efficiency," Rivers said. "These efforts have been very crucial to the successful adoption our new EHR."

During this time of transition, team and Edwards AFB Clinic staff plans to continue to provide safe, high quality healthcare.

"We would first like to thank our patient population for their patience and feedback as we transition. While wait times may increase in the immediate future, we want our patients to feel at home here at the 412th Medical Group and trust that the care we provide is both safe and patient focused," River said. "We welcome any feedback during this time and will continue to provide updates and information as it relates the employment of our new electronic health record.”

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