Coast Guard Begins Deploying Pentagon’s New Electronic Health Records System

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The service kicked off a deployment schedule that aims to have all land-based clinics using DOD’s MHS GENESIS by 2024.

Two and a half years after opting to join the Defense Department’s electronic health records program, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed its first instance of the Military Health System GENESIS to four medical facilities this weekend.

The Coast Guard deployed the system on August 29 at four posts in California: Training Center Petaluma, Base Alameda, Air Station Sacramento and Security Team 91105 in San Francisco.

In an announcement Tuesday, Coast Guard officials said those locations were chosen because “they collectively possess the full range of Coast Guard medical facility capabilities,” and are in close geographic proximity to DOD facilities using the new system.

“MHS GENESIS will be a technological leap forward for us,” said Rear Adm. Dana Thomas, Coast Guard director of health, safety and work-life, which includes the service’s 43 clinics and 150 sick bays. “It will be a game-changer for our patients and staff as we transform the delivery of health care to increase readiness and quality across our enterprise.”

The Coast Guard joined DOD’s EHR program in April 2018 after spending more than seven years and $60 million trying to build a system of its own. As with the Veterans Affairs Department—which had its own decades-long struggle with building an EHR system in-house—the Coast Guard opted to follow the Pentagon’s choice to use a commercial system developed by Cerner.

The DOD deployment has not been without its own issues—including an early stall out due to insufficient training and infrastructure improvements and a pause to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. But program officials have been able to adjust and, overall, the MHS GENESIS rollout is on schedule.

If the Coast Guard’s pilots are successful, the service’s main land-based health facilities will get the new EHR system in two waves over the next two years, beginning with 32 sites on the Pacific Coast, then the Atlantic.

Collectively, these two waves are being referred to as “Segment A,” which includes 43 ashore clinics and 67 ashore sick bays.

From there, the service plans to begin Segment B, which includes the “entire medical and dental radiology system,” on track to finish rolling out by June 2024; and Segment C, which includes all afloat sickbays. Coast Guard officials have yet to set a schedule for the final segment.

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