Since the Defense Health Agency (DHA) oversees the entire military health system, it knows how important it is for members of the military and their doctors to be able to access medical records quickly and universally. In August 2023, the DHA hosted the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium (DHITS) where military health system (MHS) stakeholders discussed its newest asset– the Military Health System (MHS) Genesis. With the creation of this universal health record database, military members’ health records can easily be accessed, whether they are active-duty or not. Currently being rolled out in waves, the MHS Genesis plans to expand health records accessibility between different military branches.
Benefits from MHS Genesis
While still new, the MHS Genesis already shows improvements in several areas which include:
- Enterprise and Cultural Interoperability: Some doctors may have different views or standards than others. This universal system makes patient files easily accessible to any doctor, regardless of military branch or practice. Now, the IT systems and Electronic Health Records (EHR) work together seamlessly. Different military branches will be able to use the same uniform system when it comes to accessing patient files and records, making the job easier for both patients and doctors.
- Patient-Centric Care: With the MHS Genesis technology enhancements, it is now easier than ever to meet patients at their home on a Tuesday through telehealth. Telehealth is especially important within the military to give patients flexibility in choosing appointments as well as requesting information or gaining access to their medical records.
- System and Process Automation: Medical professionals struggle with the global constraint of time. The MHS enables providers to automate tasks, saving time on things like paperwork and allowing for more one-on-one patient care.
Next Steps for the MHS
Currently, the entire DoD is at an 86% implementation rate for the MHS Genesis. It is actively being used in all DHA locations in the U.S. with plans to incorporate the universal health record system into the remaining treatment facilities outside of the United States by the end of 2023.
As leaders within the MHS continue their journey into modernization and sustainability, it is important that they equip people with the right knowledge and skills to be able to deliver their future vision of what military medicine should look like. The number one purpose of this emerging technology is to ensure the medical readiness of the military. The MHS Genesis will help guarantee that this stays a top priority, as it creates better access to information and helps deliver that information to the decision makers. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in medical settings is an exciting development that will help with diagnosing, personal assistants, risk analysis, forecasting and more. Through AI support, doctors will be able to spend more time on their patients and less time on large amounts of paperwork.
While the implementation of the MHS Genesis has been a success, all branches of the DoD must continue to communicate and collaborate openly and effectively. They must also involve other stakeholders by breaking down data silos and sharing freely what does and does not work in an enterprise setting. This will ultimately help with addressing public health challenges, ethically using AI in a medical setting, cybersecurity and more.
The MHS journey coincides with changing the deployment approach to a “sustainment” mentality. A sustainment mindset involves focusing on:
- Optimization of user experience: Seeking feedback and continuing to adjust the technology to enhance user experience
- Scalability: Scaling the success and implementing the changes across the enterprise if success is found with one configuration setup
- Standardization: Creating a standard vocabulary and process for enterprise usage, so people communicate with the same terminology across the MHS
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that patients receive the care they need. Through the MHS Genesis and the IT solutions discussed at DHITS, the MHS hopes to greatly boost patient experiences, increase trust in the military health system, reduce healthcare provider burnout and give patients and clinicians access to data in real-time.
*The information contained in this blog has been written based off the thought-leadership discussions presented by speakers at DHITS 2023.*