FT. WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- With the flip of a switch Medical Department Activity – Alaska officially deployed MHS GENESIS, the Department of Defense’s new electronic health record, Oct. 31 during an early morning ceremony at Bassett Army Community Hospital.Ms. Megan Hajworonsky, clinical workflow analyst and lead for the MHS GENESIS transition at MEDDAC-AK, performed the ceremonial flip of the switch in front of a crowd of socially distanced staff members, making MEDDAC-AK the first OCONUS Army military treatment facility to go-live with MHS GENESIS.I want to thank the most wonderful staff, who truly worked long and tireless hours, said Col. Eli Lozano, MEDDAC-AK Commander, in remarks to the audience.“This was a massive endeavor that has taken a substantial amount of effort and work from a lot of people,” said Lozano. “Truly a strong Army team effort to bring us to this point.”The team effort went beyond MEDDAC-AK staff members. It also consisted of members of the ‘Pay It Forward’ team, a program sponsored by the Defense Health Agency and Program Management Office to bring subject matter experts from current MHS GENESIS locations such as Madigan Army Medical Center.“I’d like to thank the ‘Pay it Forward’ team who have been combat multipliers in assisting our staff with completing tasks to get ready for today and with training as we go-live,’ said Lozano.While the system went live Oct. 31, there is still work ahead for MEDDAC-AK staff, which will decrease the availability of appointments and extend wait times in the pharmacy, lab and radiology.“During these first few days after the transition, we have already experienced some challenges with the transfer of information and fewer appointments as our staff become proficient in the system,” said Lt. Col. Katie Cocker, MEDDAC-AK Deputy for Clinical Care Services. “We are thankful to our beneficiaries who have been understanding and patient as we work through these challenges.”While these inconveniences will be temporary, the benefits of deploying MHS GENESIS will last decades. Immediately, patients have access to the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal, a one-stop shop for viewing personal health care and history that allows two-way communication between the patient and the provider. The portal is a secure website for around-the-clock access to family health information, test results and prescription refills. Beginning Nov. 18, patients will also be able to schedule appointments through the system.Like TRICARE Online, patients must have a DS Logon account to access the system. Those who already have a DS Logon account must upgrade to a premium account at https://patientportal.mhsgenesis.health.mil/.When fully deployed, MHS GENESIS will be essential to supporting combat forces. A troop’s record will be available anywhere, from a battlefield aid station to our biggest facilities back home. Once the Department of Veterans Affairs deploys its version of the system, MHS GENESIS will also enable a health record that will follow service members all the way from the time they join the military through their transition to VA care after military service ends.Many things are changing for our patients and staff with the implementation of MHS GENESIS,” said Lozano. “What will not change is our commitment to providing high-quality health care.”