Back to Top Skip to main content

DHA’s IT innovation continues during COVID-19 pandemic

Three military personnel, wearing masks, in front of a computer screen Capt. Bradford Smith, Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) commanding officer (left), enrolls in Military Health System (MHS) GENESIS with the help of Lt. Donny Le (center) and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Terrance Stevens, training coordinators assigned to NMCSD. MHS GENESIS, the new electronic health record system, provides enhanced, secure technology to manage health information and integrates inpatient and outpatient solutions. (Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob L Greenberg, Naval Medical Center San Diego.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Research and Innovation | Technology | MHS GENESIS

The Defense Health Agency’s innovations in Information Technology in 2020 not only aided the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also proved that such challenges cannot dim the future of IT utility, convenience, and interoperability.

The DHA is moving forward with the nationwide installment of its MHS GENESIS electronic health records (EHR) system, which should be finished – on time – by the end of 2023, Holly Joers, acting program executive officer, Program Executive Office-Defense Healthcare Management Systems, told a recent media roundtable.

The momentum has continued despite competing priorities from the COVID-19 pandemic on military health care centers across the U.S., Joers noted. In fact, the installation of MHS GENESIS, the joint EHR for the DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs, already has proven helpful in adding system alerts for COVID-19, opioid overuse, and mass inoculations, she said.

MHS GENESIS offers a patient portal as one of its key features. The portal is a one-stop shop, around-the-clock access point for viewing personal health care and history. It also provides two-way communication between patient and provider. Beneficiaries can use the secure website to access individual and family health information and to aid in online prescription renewal.

In October, CommonWell Health Alliance was added to the joint health information exchange (HIE), bringing with it a network of more than 15,000 health care providers.

The joint HIE was launched in April 2020 and is a network of private sector providers across the United States who have agreed to securely share clinical information with DOD, Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Coast Guard providers. Shared clinical information includes prescriptions, allergies, illnesses, lab and radiology results, immunizations, medical procedures, and medical notes in the form of electronic health records, “resulting in more informed care for patients who are navigating between different health care providers” in both the public and private sectors,” DOD said.

The CommonWell connection was a “critical step forward in significantly expanding DOD, VA and the U.S. Coast Guard’s private sector partnerships and interoperability capabilities,” according to DOD. The deal provides a single point of entry for providers to the more than 2,000 hospitals, 8,800 pharmacies, 33,000 clinics, 1,100 labs, 800 federal qualified health centers, and 300 nursing homes participating in joint HIE.

Healthcare worker, wearing personal protective gear, leans into a car at a pharmacy drive-thru
U.S. Army Pvt. Daniel Murtagh, a combat medic specialist, wears personal protective gear as a frontline worker testing drive-thru patients for COVID-19 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska in November 2020. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Emily Farnsworth)

To ensure a seamless, standardized experience for beneficiaries, the DHA is migrating public-facing military medical treatment facility (MTF) websites to TRICARE.mil. Each migrated site will have the same look and feel to improve ease of access for beneficiaries to quickly locate information. The DHA has established 18 guest wireless sites for the continental U.S. to keep patients and their families up to date on the delivery of care. 

The medical community of interest (Med-COI) is a single, enterprise-wide network designed to support military health IT requirements. The desktop-to-datacenter (D2D) program helps standardize the delivery of enterprise services. D2D enables providers and staff access to their personal clinical desktop via any clinical desktop in any MTF.

All Army and Navy MTFs, as well as an increasing number of Air Force MTFs, have received the infrastructure to support the migration to D2D/Med-COI. More than 20 MTFs and their associated clinics have been fully migrated to make them MHS GENESIS ready.

A different, but no less fruitful, creation was a provider “resilience toolkit” for COVID-19 by DHA Connected Health’s mHealth team. The toolkit highlights evidence-based research on self-care tips and health technology tools to promote the resilience of frontline providers and reduce burnout during the pandemic. The toolkit, launched in late March, is being updated to feature a lead video, a series of interview videos with providers, blog posts, a social media toolkit, and more.

“These were existing tools in the DHA digital health portfolio that, when packaged together, met a pressing need in the military health community. The use of digital tools supports social and physical distancing while also allowing our providers an avenue to monitor and improve their stress and anxiety,” said Kelly Blasko, MHS Connected Health Branch mHealth Clinical Integration section lead.

“Based on research from past health crises, we knew that providers were at-risk for the psychological effects of burnout. We saw a drastic increase in the usage of DHA’s recommended digital health tools, ranging from 16% to over 1,000%, during the first six weeks of an awareness campaign,” Blasko said.

The revamped toolkit takes into account lessons learned on provider burnout months into the pandemic. “The self-care strategy and tools continue to fill a need to prevent and alleviate any effects of burnout, increasing provider resilience,” she noted.

In addition, DHA’s Antimicrobial Stewardship app is a centralized platform for promoting standardized practice in treating infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

“The app gathers all the evidence-based resources in one place and is available at your fingertips,” said Dr. Twee Sim, senior medical advisor and chief of the Office of Advanced Clinical Quality Management & Policy Analysis for the DHA. “This is especially important during this pandemic, when providers may be overwhelmed by the multiple and different sources for information.”

The app also supports providers at the point-of-care with relevant guidelines and evidence-based recommendations for treatment.

The app’s information has been reviewed by DHA infectious diseases providers and gives recommendations based on nationally recognized organizations such as the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and on the DOD COVID-19 Practice Management Guide.

DHA’s Information Technology & Multimedia Branch (ITMB) is helping to support the needs of the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) and its students.

The ITMB acquired funding to enhance the cellular signal in the Medical Instructional Facilities, which will help with training and emergency response, METC Public Affairs said. ITMB is migrating its network from the Army to the Med-COI. ITMB coordinated an improved Wi-Fi network across dorms, ships and barracks to support students with remote access to training materials.

The METC has transferred a number of programs of instruction to the College of Allied Health Sciences (CAHS), Uniformed Services University, making CAHS the institution of record for college credit. METC plans to move more programs to CAHS.

In addition, the METC formed a distance and blended learning working group because of the COVID-19 crisis. Although much of the education and training is hands on, several programs stepped up to provide students with remote access to training materials. These actions helped to ensure the safety of students and instructors, as well as to assist students in isolation to keep up with their classmates. To date, 11 programs can use distance and blended learning.

You also may be interested in...

MHS GENESIS has successful launch at Naval Medical Center San Diego

Article
4/8/2021
Military personnel standing in front of Naval Medical Center cutting a red ribbon

The successful outcome was the result of a long-term strategy in the deployment process.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Children’s well-being contributes immeasurably to force readiness

Article
4/6/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask in the back of a truck

The Defense Health Agency joins in celebrating military children during Month of the Military Child, observed in April, and always.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | April Toolkit | Month of the Military Child – Celebrating the Mighty | Coronavirus | Month of the Military Child | Month of the Military Child Image Library

MHS GENESIS Patient Portal expands new features

Article
4/5/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask looking at a computer screen

The MHS GENESIS patient portal is readying new features and expanding existing ones, including its online library, and has rolled out special COVID-19 capabilities.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Moderna and Pfizer

Infographic
4/2/2021
Infographic of the timeline of the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine

Infographic of the timeline of the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

How They Work

Infographic
4/2/2021
Infographic of the differences of how the Pfizer/Moderna Vaccine and the Janssen Vaccine work.

Infographic of the differences of how the Pfizer/Moderna Vaccine and the Janssen Vaccine work.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Telemedicine advances put to the test during pandemic

Article
4/1/2021
Uniformed service member stands behind wall of computer screens

COVID-19 has led to the need for physical distancing and has overwhelmed the capacities of health systems, compelling many to adopt telehealth solutions.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Research and Innovation | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

DOD healthcare leaders give COVID-19 update, praise DHA personnel

Article
3/30/2021
Picture of Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr. Ronald Place providing a COVID-19 update at  the Pentagon

Dr. Terry Adirim and Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place provide update on COVID-19 vaccination progress and offer thanks to MHS workers for their contributions.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Lovell FHCC staff steps up to create formidable COVID-19 team

Article
3/30/2021
Military health personnel preparing to administer the COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccination effort at the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Illinois, has brought out the best in staff.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Dover Air Force Base features ‘Park ‘N Pickup’ pharmacy

Article
3/26/2021
Picture of prescription sitting on a counter

Due to the increased need for patient safety, the 436th Medical Group pharmacy at Dover Air Force Base has implemented a Park ‘N Pickup process.

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety Awareness Week | COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | Patient Safety

DHA Form 207: COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Immunization Document

Form/Template
3/25/2021

The purpose of this form is to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to the patient.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

TAB A MEO COVID19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

Memorandum for DHA Staff - Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA COVID19 Medical Coding PolicyV5 1v

Policy

Establishes the DHA procedures to standardize the coding for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) within military medical treatment facilities (MTFs). This memorandum replaces DHA-Policy Memorandum 20-003 of July 1, 2020. Attachment 1 was updated to include the 2021 procedure and diagnosis codes for COVID-19, including the new vaccination and treatment codes.

  • Identification #: 20-003
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

Eight nations participate in West African virtual pandemic exercise

Article
3/24/2021
Picture of military personnel wearing a face mask looking at a laptop computer

Medical experts from six African nations, the United Kingdom and the United States, participated in a Virtual Pandemic Preparation and Response Engagement exercise.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Partners

Army dietitian uses nutritional care to fight COVID-19

Article
3/23/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask standing in front of a Nutrition Clinic

Army dietician plays a critical role in COVID-19 patient recovery.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic, one year later in the DOD

Article
3/22/2021
A photo of a hospital ship

Timeline of events as the COVID-19 pandemic took over 2020.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 47

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.