Out with the old [medical record system] and in with the new

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alysa Knott
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Shorter wait times, 24/7 access and improved functionality.

These are just a few features of a new health record system being implemented at Hurlburt Field.

The Military Health System Genesis Electronic Health Record System is a new electronic health record system that will be an all-in-one record system for medical care for all of the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and military dependents.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gregory Smith, assigned to the 1st Special Operations Medical Group, explained that Genesis modernizes Hurlburt Field’s electronic health record system.

“There are a lot of functional things to help to use it faster, so that most of [the providers’] time can be spent dealing with patients, and also documenting,” Smith said.

First introduced to the DoD in 2017, Genesis is now used by bases nationwide.

Hurlburt Field first deployed the new record system in September 2022, and the 1st SOMDG is currently working to train its DoD medical members on the software.

Before Genesis, the DoD used the Composite Health Care System, Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application and Essentris. These systems lacked modernized features and functionality.

Additionally, the systems didn’t connect with other providers, meaning that providers handled appointments and patient records in completely separate systems from CHCS.

With Genesis, medical providers are able to navigate health records, out-patient, in-patient and pharmacy records under the same platform. Genesis also enables providers to view more than one patient at a time and view information from a different military medical center.

Smith added that this upgrade will produce faster documentation of medical records, better workflow for the providers and decrease wait times for patients.

Similarly, Smith added that the upgrade enables patients to be able to navigate the health record system more easily. Patients are now able to access the patient portal to view their labs, test results, medical records and have 24/7 access to their providers and primary care management team.

Genesis will also track all medical records as long as the patient is active duty, reserve, guard, VA or a dependent. The system will ensure patients have access to their medical records throughout their careers.

In addition to those benefits, Hurlburt Field’s pharmacy now has an auto- activation initiative for patients’ prescriptions. With auto-activation, the pharmacist is able to see all of the medications that are prescribed for a patient by their provider, enabling the pharmacist to fill them and send a text alerting the patients that their prescriptions are available for pick up.

“[Because of Genesis] wait times to activate prescriptions are nothing now, and wait times to pick up are about an hour to three,” explained Maj. Josh Radel, 1st SOMDG pharmacy flight commander. “Prior to Genesis, wait times would be a day for most folks.”

Radel mentioned that they are working through a few bugs in the system, however.

At this time, there is no way to request a refill for prescriptions. Patients will need to contact their PCM through the patient portal or call the number on their prescription bottle to request a refill.

Additionally, patients are currently unable to schedule an appointment with their PCM through the patient portal and appointment availability is limited as staff are still training on the Genesis system.

Despite these challenges, Smith said that overall, Genesis is more functional and easier to navigate for providers and the patients.

“As we evolve the system, it is going to evolve with us,'' said Smith. “If someone notices something that can be improved upon, you can request changes to help the system perform better. Everyone will get those changes, it's going to evolve over the years.”

Medical Group officials expect that once crews are well trained on the new software, wait times and appointment availability should return to normal in early 2023.

For patients that want to access their old medical records, the Tricare Online Patient Portal is still available.

To enable the text alert capability for prescriptions, patients can sign up at the pharmacy window while picking up their medications.

“By using the patient portal, patients will see a benefit to their care by having more control of it,” explained Smith.

To create an online account with the new Genesis Patient Portal, click here.