Ellsworth medical group transitioning to new electronic health record

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. — The 28th Medical Group will transition to an electronic health record (EHR), MHS Genesis, on April 24, and officials are urging beneficiaries to check now to ensure they have access to the new site.

The existing Tricare Online account will migrate to MHS Genesis, an integrative site that provides a location for the MHS to document every patient’s healthcare activities and care. The new system includes upgraded infrastructure, enhanced access to medical records for beneficiaries, and improved patient safety – with clinic workflows designed to minimize human error.

“As with any new system, there will be a learning period for our staff and patients,” said Col. Robert Corby, the 28th MDG commander. “We want to ensure that all of our beneficiaries are aware of this and take steps now to help with the transition.”

Ellsworth is part of the largest implementation wave to date for the Department of Defense. In all, MHS Genesis will go-live at 29 medical treatment facilities the last Saturday of April. Implementation across the entire DoD is scheduled to be completed in 2023.

While the 28th MDG has been preparing for the transition, Corby said they do anticipate decreases in patient access and increased waiting times at the pharmacy while the medical staff learn the EHR function and new process workflows in the actual patient care environment.

“We’re asking for patience from our customers,” he said. “Think of this as our staff learning to communicate in a new language. It will take additional time and we want to make sure everything is in good order and working properly. Patient safety is the highest priority … if we need to go slower to make sure we get it right in the new system, that is exactly what we will do.”

Once fully deployed, MHS Genesis will provide a single health record for service members, veterans and their families, and be a single integrated inpatient and outpatient solution that consolidates medical and dental information across the continuum of care.

“It will improve communication not only across the military clinics but also across the Veterans Affairs Health Systems and civilian providers,” Corby said.

He added that MHS Genesis shares a common platform with many civilian sector EHRs and due to its scope of use the program allows for more speedy and responsive EHR updates, upgrades and enhancements.

“Patients will benefit from secure, 24/7 access to their health information and patient education through the MHS Genesis Patient Portal. This portal can be accessed now, and patients can establish a premium account,” Corby said.

Beneficiaries can log in to MHS Genesis Patient Portal using their DoD Self-Service (DS) logon, common access card (CAC), or DFAS MyPay account credentials.

While the system goes live on April 24, Corby said the 28th MDG has been preparing and training for the new system for more than a year.

“This is certainly a big lift for the 28th MDG,” he said. “We have utilized a combination of tactics ranging from solution calls and weekly synchronization meetings to role-based training, engagement with the enterprise team, awareness fairs and internal and external communication. Acclimating to the new EHR has taken a great deal of training, and all MHS Genesis users have 40 to 120 hours of computer-based training followed by in-person instruction depending on their specific user role.”

Additionally, the 28th MDG sent 20 individuals to Fort Carson, Colo., for more in-depth training on the system and they have been tabbed “super users.”

“These super users will act as the first line of support for us during the go-live period and will assist future implementation waves by traveling to other installations as part of the ‘Pay It Forward Program,’” Corby said. “During the initial 10 days of go-live, Ellsworth will benefit from this program as super users from other bases will help us through our launch.”

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