FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Staff at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital in-processed trainees here April 24 as part of a test using the new medical record system – MHS GENESIS.
According to Maj. Cynthia Anderson, GLWACH’s chief nursing information officer who is charged with ushering MHS GENESIS to GLWACH and to units with medical operations, such as medical in-processing or sick call, GLWACH is the first Army military treatment facility with initial entry processing mission to go live with MHS GENESIS.
“Our mission to support the 43rd Reception Battalion in the medical in-processing of the trainees has greatly impacted our mission to implement MHS GENESIS here at GLWACH,” Anderson said. “While many of the services at the military treatment facility can be reduced in the immediate weeks after go-live to accommodate staff learning a new electronic health care record, the mission at the 43rd must continue at current pace and throughput. We have flexed our resources to meet this mission.”
Anderson said with the support of our local leadership, Regional Health Command-Central, and Defense Health Agency, she feels confident that GLWACH is prepared for implementation.
“MHS GENESIS wasn’t originally designed with a workflow or process that accommodates medical processing of extremely large amounts of patients at one time so a mass readiness module was created to meet the demands of military medicine,” Anderson said.
The 43rd AG Bn. is the first time a trainee’s electronic medical record is accessed using MHS GENESIS. Here, trainees have blood drawn and are vaccinated with appropriate immunizations.
1st Sgt. Jason Roberts, first sergeant for A Co., 43rd AG Bn., said every trainee who arrives at Fort Leonard Wood for Basic Combat Training or One Station Unit Training goes to the 43rd AG Bn. to in-process. Last year, he said there were 25,000 trainees who processed through the 43rd.
“They were processing roughly 100 trainees per hour,” said Roberts. “There are 18 stations that have to compete for those trainees and they only have four days to get through them, so being able to get through the medical station quickly is a really good thing.”
One of the peers assisting GLWACH with the Go-Live event was Senior Airman Sabrina McDonald, a medical technician stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Nellis went live with MHS GENESIS last October, and McDonald is a “pay-it-forward” peer assistant helping GLWACH employees navigate the new system here. This is her second assignment after assisting in San Diego with its Naval Medical Center.
“I think the pay-it-forward members are here for peer-to-peer assistance,” McDonald said. “I went through the same thing and I know what you’re feeling on Go-Live.”
McDonald said she works with the provider at Nellis with patient intake—the initial screening with the patient—and orders labs, works with messaging (Patient Portal) and processes check-ins.
GLWACH and other MTFs do not Go-Live with MHS GENESIS without some assistance from trainers and peers.
Col. Aaron Pitney, GLWACH commander said he understands how the new system will impact his hospital and staff, but ensures the community there is enough assistance on-ground at GLWACH to make this transition less impactful.
“The resources—people, trainers, and peers—[DHA] brought here are sufficient for how important MHS GENESIS is,” Pitney said. “With any transition, there are unknowns. The training gets us prepared but time and repetition will increase our familiarity.”
Maj. Jon Thibodeau is in charge of medical operations at the Combined Troop Medical Clinic and Chief of Medical Readiness Service Line. His staff can also see large amounts of patients at one time.
Thibodeau said in the long term this system will streamline processes and will provide a better health record that can communicate across DoD, but added the system will be an adjustment.
“The biggest thing is going to be growing pains,’ Thibodeau said. “It’s just the change with the way we do things. The patient safety aspect with it is built in. The changes are for the better. Overall, once we get used to it, it’s going to be a better, safer, more efficient system.”
“There’s a one-month period where there might be things to troubleshoot, sending in tickets and hammering those out, but once that’s accomplished and you have a more streamlined workflow then people start to be proficient,” McDonald said.