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MC4 Attends the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium

By Mr. Paul Clark, Strategic Communications Lead, MC4

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Rob “Waldo” Waldman, a Hall of Fame leadership speaker, executive coach and author of “Never Fly Solo,” addresses DHITS conference attendees in Orlando, Florida, on July 25.
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Rob “Waldo” Waldman, a Hall of Fame leadership speaker, executive coach and author of “Never Fly Solo,” addresses DHITS conference attendees in Orlando, Florida, on July 25.

The Defense Health Information Technology Symposium (DHITS) was held from July 25-27 in Orlando, Florida, and included a robust list of exhibits and break-out sessions focused on health IT. Staff from the Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) participated in the symposium and focused on learning more about the current and future state of Military Health System (MHS) Genesis, the new electronic health record (EHR) for the MHS that provides enhanced, secure technology to manage health information. In addition to getting an update on the status of MHS Genesis, the overarching topics MC4 leadership concentrated on included the Army’s focus on readiness, the impact of congressional direction to merge all service medical treatment facilities (MTFs) under the Defense Health Agency by October 2018, the additional focus needed on Soldier medical training and skills, and the defense health program resourcing needed to continue Army healthcare.

The MC4 team in attendance took note of a number of presentations which included topics on the need for virtual health capability and solutions on the multi-domain battlefield, telehealth and mobile technology, real-time patient data and the status of the Joint Operational Medicine Information Systems (JOMIS) deployment of MHS Genesis to the operational medicine community. In particular, MC4 had an interest in sites that have already deployed MHS Genesis and the lessons learned from those efforts.

In recent weeks, the timing of the JOMIS/MHS Genesis deployment to the operational theater has been pushed back 18-24 months. This means efforts to modernize operational medical systems, such as the existing Theater Medical Information Program-Joint (TMIP-J) system used today by the Army and other services will have to wait. In the interim, MC4 is looking for proactive opportunities to make use of the added time to deployment. Notably, MC4 plans to use the information gathered during the symposium to help prepare for the new healthcare system. In particular, MC4 plans to find solutions for the challenges facing garrison MTFs during deployments of MHS Genesis. For example, during the MHS Genesis configuration build in the garrison MTF at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, there were a number of challenges that emerged. Some of those challenges were significant, including issues with pharmacy, scheduling, workload and staffing. In the future, MC4 can use this knowledge to shape garrison MTF testing that will improve operational medicine workflows during operational assessments.

MC4 also used the symposium as an opportunity to meet with personnel from the Office of the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army, who provided their vision for planning the way ahead in Army operational medicine that will aid MC4. In the DHITS exhibit hall, MC4 staff were interested in seeing demonstrations from a number of MHS Genesis applications. They were able to discuss the attributes and benefits of the MC4 program, as well as network with key partners and stakeholders. Finally, another element for planners to consider came out of discussions centered on sustainment. Even though JOMIS may be taking over the configuration and deployment of the new EHR system in a few years, the current TMIP-J systems will still need to be maintained long after MHS Genesis is deployed in theater. At the end of the day, there’s still an EHR program to be fielded to deployed forces in harm’s way, which will continue to be MC4’s focus.

Posted September 15, 2017