DoD’s electronic health records system changing way military does business

Holly Joers, the program executive officer for the Program Executive Office, Defense Healthcare Management Systems (PEO-DHMS), said DoD’s Cerner-based EHR, is now live at 75% of DoD’s clinics and hospitals, with 160,000 users and 6.1 million beneficiaries in the system so far.

Joers said DoD’s experience has been that the deployment process works much, much better once it’s moved beyond the first few sites. After that, a lot of lessons have been learned, and the institution can start to converge around change management and IT deployment practices that make sense for the whole enterprise.

“I can’t comment specifically on VA, but when I look at where they are now, I’m taken back to where DoD was in the 2017-2018 timeframe,” she said. “There were challenges with the network, and so we made rules about what infrastructure had to be in place before a go-live, and how long it needed to be stable before we went live. We looked at our governance and management process to hear different inputs. When you’re only dealing with four sites, everyone wants to make it work for what their workflow was before. So you really have to have the fortitude to look at making an enterprise standard, knowing that it might not match what they’re currently doing today. And we had to go through those growing pains.”

In the interview Joers also discussed:

  • How PEO-DHMS is avoiding technical debt as it continues to develop MHS Genesis.
  • The integration of anonymized data from Genesis with other “secondary” data sources – including, for instance, Census data – to make it easier to answer bigger public health questions.
  • Workflow and process standardization and modernization
  • How they are using feedback from users and patients to improve MHS Genesis