MHS Genesis Deployment Aims to Employ DOD and Commercial Best Practices

Published: May 11, 2017

DEFENSEDHAElectronic Health RecordHealth IT

Stacey Cummings, Program Executive Officer (PEO), Defense Healthcare Management Systems (DHMS) told Government CIO Magazine recently that their business model is “to leverage commercial best practices, as much as possible, and also DOD best practices where that makes sense.”

MHS Genesis deployed at its first site, Fairchild Air Force Base, in February. The original plan had been to rollout to four Pacific NW installations in December 2016, but was delayed while DHA officials ensured the cybersecurity interfaces for the Cerner-designed system worked effectively with legacy systems.  Cummings stated deployment at the remaining sites in the Pacific Northwest could happen as early as June 2017.

Cummings said they combined the two best practices the most during the testing phase.  They brought users in to identify deficiencies early.  “One challenge was interfaces to unique DOD capabilities,” said Cummings. “During testing some were not working properly, but we recognized this early and were able to fix them.” 

Another challenge they face is delivering an enterprise-wide solution, not just a solution for one facility.  They have built this consciousness into testing.  As they are testing, they are cognizant of how the solution will work across the enterprise and serve all the needs.

In order to ensure deployment proceeds smoothly, DHMS and its partner, Leidos Partnership for Defense Health, are leveraging three approaches:  testing, functional user relationships, and change management.

For testing, they are employing three phases which take advantage of the best of commercial and DOD processes: contractor-led testing, government-led testing, and operational user testing at facilities.  They are also are taking advantage of functional user relationships by asking users throughout the program how they would standardize workflows and other functional areas. Users are part of the solution development. Finally, the DHMS and contractor team are taking advantage of commercial best practices for change management. Change management is much broader than just training.  It incorporates all aspects of preparing users for the change.

Cummings believes that the MHS Genesis solution will modernize DOD health care and provide key capabilities to enhance the user experience. Added capabilities include:

  • One single record for medical and dental to track all outpatient and inpatient care.
  • More usability for providers.  For example, point and click, and standardized workflows.
  • Higher level of reliability.  The system will be hosted in a single data center with redundancy.
  • Automatic upgrades. From a procurement perspective, every time the commercial provider makes a system upgrade DOD will also receive it without having to purchase it each time.

In addition to the MHS Genesis site deployment schedule, DHMS will start configuring and testing the solution for operational users this year. This is in preparation for taking MHS Genesis beyond the fixed facilities and deploying it on Navy ships, the theater environment, Army, Air Force and in their deployed models.  These environments include low or no-communication areas.  The goal is to modernize care given to warfighters in a theater environment. 

MHS Genesis is projected to be fully deployed by 2022.