The scheduled initial rollout of the Military Health System's new multibillion-dollar electronic health record system has been delayed, at least for several months.
The Defense Department is blaming the pause on an “aggressive schedule and issues identified during testing that led to the determination that more time is needed to correct these issues,” according to a statement (PDF).
The first go-lives “will move in a few months,” the statement said.
The proposed new EHR system, now called MHS GENESIS since a renaming in April, was to be initially deployed in December at a select group of facilities in the Pacific Northwest.
In July 2015, a consortium led by defense contractor Leidos, Accenture Federal Services and Cerner Corp. won the $4.3 billion contract, one of the largest in health IT history, following a 22-month procurement competition. The new system will replace a hodgepodge of existing EHRs at 55 military hospitals and 600 clinics and connect with the VistA EHR at the Veterans Health Administration, the healthcare arm of the Veterans Affairs Department.
The new EHR system must be interoperable with EHRs from multiple other vendors used by civilian hospitals and office-based physicians. About 60% of the care given to the military's 9.5 million active duty and retired military personnel and their families is in those settings.
The “total cost of ownership” for the new system was estimated at $9 billion.
“We collaborated closely with our vendor, the Leidos Partnership for Defense Health, to make the best overall decision for the successful deployment of MHS GENESIS,” said Stacy Cummings, program executive officer for the project, in the statement. “We have a responsibility to our customers to ensure that all required test procedures and processes are completed in an orderly manner. During the testing of the system, we identified the need for more time before initial deployment to ensure we are providing the best possible user experience to our beneficiaries and healthcare providers.”
Last month, a news release and a newsletter from the Program Executive Office of the Defense Department's Healthcare Management System Modernization, or DHMSM (pronounced dim sum, which is the overall HIT project's name), reported that the office conducted “system validation sessions” at multiple sites in Washington state this summer -- Naval Hospital Bremerton, Oak Harbor Naval Hospital, Naval Branch Health Clinic in Everett, the 92nd Medical Group at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, the Madigan Army Medical Center near Tacoma, and its off-base Puyallup Community Medical Home.
Neither publication made mention of a possible delay or any complaints about the EHR systems being presented.
“The sessions serve as critical next steps toward MHS GENESIS go-live,” and would include “introducing design and functionality specifically tailored to each site,” the newsletter said.