Defense Health Agency Director Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono visited Naval Hospital Bremerton June 29 during a MHS GENESIS fact-finding trip to the Pacific Northwest.
Bono met with command leadership and users of the new electronic health record for candid conversations regarding implementation, best practices, lessons learned, issues and improvements.
“Tell me what I need to fix when I get back home and what we can do to make it better," Bono directly asked NHB Referral Management staff, who were the initial stop of her visit to the command, discussing such topics as referral processing, contractual concerns and credentialing procedures.
Bono also visited NHB’s Northwest Beginnings Family Birth Center and Main Pharmacy.
NHB’s Pharmacy Department has been perhaps the most notably influenced area by MHS GENESIS due to its associated impact on patients. The new system initially caused longer wait-times than anticipated for beneficiaries waiting on medications, and staff were compelled to deal with a host of software concerns as part of a steep learning curve without sacrificing patient safety.
“A lot of work has been done, and we are still doing more. Progress has been made in a number of areas and there is optimism with the MHS GENESIS workflow benefiting our patients,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dean Kang, NHB Pharmacy Department head.
The pharmacy has made a number of improvements to their workspace, staffing, and workflow that have returned wait times to normal.
"I admire what you have done. It really is incredible. It stands out how involved everyone is to make this happen, and that starts at the top," said Bono, addressing the pharmacy staff.
The focus of the visit was to receive frank feedback on MHS GENESIS, which NHB deployed on Sept. 23, 2017, for Service members, veterans and their families as one of the four sites in the Pacific Northwest along with U.S. Air Force 92nd Medical Group at Fairchild Air Force Base, Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor and Madigan Army Medical Center.
“We are excited to be at the “tip of the spear’ with the implementation of the new electronic health record. There have been challenges, but we have made significant progress and improvements that will benefit the rest of the Military Health System. MHS GENESIS is now functional on our carriers and submarines in the Pacific Northwest, allowing ship’s medical staff to communicate directly with hospital providers on operationally relevant issues related to their Sailors and Marines. The new system is much more capable than our legacy systems and we are excited to ultimately have the DoD and VA on the same EHR platform in the future,” said Navy Capt. Jeffrey Bitterman, NHB commanding officer.