FORT POLK, La. –
At 7 a.m., on March 19, as the day shift assumed their duties MHS GENESIS became the new modernized electronic health record for beneficiaries of Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital.
According to the Defense Health Agency, MHS GENESIS replaced several Department of Defense legacy healthcare systems supporting the availability of electronic health records for more than 9.5 million DoD beneficiaries and nearly 205,000 Military Health System personnel globally.
Col. Aristotle Vaseliades, hospital commander, said the full transition will take some time as BJACH staff and providers learn new work flows.
“On Saturday morning a mother in labor arrived at our Labor, Delivery and Postpartum department, we had a patient in our mixed medical surgical department and normal weekend trauma and emergencies gave our staff the opportunity to use the system live in real time,” he said. “As we prepared for “go live” we also invited patients to come through our outpatient clinics. We had patients arrive at different departments for periodic health assessments, knee pain, immunizations, pharmacy and lab work. It went pretty smoothly minus a few bumps in the road which our information management department immediately fixed.”
Vaseliades said the MHS GENESIS “go live” at BJACH went well thanks in large part to the training and preparation of the hospital staff.
“Our IMD team has done an amazing job,” he said. “They’ve rolled out nearly 3,000 pieces of equipment, conducted 176 training events for our staff and run countless miles of computer cable to install new ports and ensure connectivity for all MHS GENESIS equipment.”
Vaseliades reminds everyone to be patient with the staff during the MHS GENESIS transition.
“It is going to take time to get everyone comfortable and confident with the new system,” he said. “What we’ve noticed is that a normal 20 minute appointment will take close to an hour to complete.”
Col. Sam Smith, Fort Polk Garrison Commander, was invited to help test outpatient capabilities as MHS GENESIS went live.
“The staff at BJACH were phenomenal as always,” he said. “The providers, nurses and techs were learning to navigate the new process and a new system which made things take longer, however they were able to identify workflow issues they are now able to mitigate and work on.”
Smith said in the long term MHS GENESIS will be a good thing for quality of life.
“Long term this system will create efficiency and improve communication not only in our hospital but across the entire Military Health System,” he said. “However until the system is fully functioning as designed there will be some increased wait times that our Soldiers and Families are not currently used to.”
Smith said BJACH provides great quality of care to Soldiers, Families and retirees in the community and MHS GENESIS is a great technological step forward.
Lt. Col. Daniel Cash, deputy commander for clinical services, said rebuilding patient records is the biggest challenge in the deployment of MHS GENESIS.
“Not all information from the legacy systems is pulled over into MHS GENESIS so we are updating medical records at each patient’s initial visit post ‘go live’,” he said. “Patients and beneficiaries should come to their first appointments prepared to give a little historical background on their medical history in order to populate the new system.”
Cash said having the team come in on Saturday was a good exercise to identify and alleviate any potential issues that might arise during the week.
MHS GENESIS enables the application of standardized workflows, integrated healthcare delivery, and data standards for the improved and secure electronic exchange of medical and patient data.
The program has been deploying across the MHS in waves that began in the Pacific Northwest in 2017. March 19 Wave Bragg and Wave Hood, which BJACH was a part of, was the largest wave thus far. As more and more military treatment facilities begin using MHS GENESIS the better it will work for all beneficiaries.