Defense Department Halts Health Records Rollout During COVID-19


The pause is in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Defense Department has temporarily suspended the deployment of its new commercial electronic health records system.

According to an official from the Defense Healthcare Management System, the decision will allow military health care providers to better focus on the COVID-19 outbreak. The agency will continue to support eight existing deployments of the MHS Genesis software, the official said.

“The MHS GENESIS team highly values people and recognizes the incredible efforts of our providers. We want to ensure our providers can remain focused on the pandemic and not be distracted with MHS GENESIS deployment activities,” Cori Hughes, director of program integration for the Defense Healthcare Management Systems, told Nextgov in an email. “In collaboration with our acquisition leadership and our functional champion, we will suspend MHS GENESIS deployment activities that distract our providers during their support of the COVID pandemic.”

MHS Genesis, developed by the Leidos Partnership for Defense Health, which includes the Cerner electronic health records platform, will eventually replace the military’s legacy health records software. It is designed to be interoperable with private sector healthcare providers and the Veterans Affairs Department, which plans to roll out the first instances of its new software by July.

Hughes said the decision to halt new MHS Genesis deployments will not impact preparation activities for future deployments.

“The team continues to analyze deployment strategies and seek ways to create efficiencies not only within the [Defense Department] but with our VA counterparts as well,” Hughes said.

Hughes further added that the Defense Healthcare Management Systems’ medicine team is supporting COVID-19 response through three efforts:

  • Enhancing the capability of the Military Situational Awareness in Theater through the addition of a common operating picture that advances situational awareness and command control capability.
  • Exploring options to increase virtual health capabilities.
  • Partnering with [Army Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care] to enhance [Health Assessment Lite Operations], a point of injury EHR tool.

FCW first reported the MHS Genesis deployment pause.