FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS -- The U.S. Army Medical Information Technology Center (USAMITC) and the Military Health System Cyberinfrastructure Services (MCiS) jointly created the Military Health System Joint Active Directory (MHS JAD) and have partnered on an initiative to help improve communications and response times between healthcare providers from different branches of the military working in a joint medical environment. As the informational technology (IT) arm for the MHS, MCiS not only partnered up with USAMITC in this MHS JAD initiative, but they are also the customer organization that approached USAMITC requesting this migration support. In the long term, this migration should definitely help the joint military healthcare process.

The MHS directed all clinical programs of record to migrate to the MHS JAD as part of this initiative, and some clinical organizations are also in the process of migrating some of their IT services to the MHS JAD as well.

One of these migration efforts began over two years ago when USAMITC was tasked to support the newly created Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical (JTF CAPMED) in the Washington, D.C. area.

This task involved a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) initiative to consolidate some of the medical facilities in the North Capital Region, including the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH) and the former National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda. This initiative specifically required the closure of WRAMC and the distribution of its employees and IT services to the other two Medical Treatment Facilities (MTF). These hospitals, the FBCH and the newly-named Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), now fall under JTF CapMed.

"The tasking was two-fold," said Joe Tolentino, a Project Manager in USAMITC's Sustainment Division and the MHS JAD Team Lead. "The first immediate task was to get Fort Belvoir migrated into the MHS JAD by the end of August of last year, 2011." Tolentino said that this migration was different. "This was an active directory migration project requiring email, BlackBerry, and email archiving services, as well as the requirement to migrate workstations."

Tolentino said that from USAMITC's perspective, the real focus was to migrate customers from one active directory system to the MHS JAD. "The challenge is--we have three different types of customers: Army, Navy, and a smattering of Air Force; so we're talking about a real tri-service initiative," said Tolentino. "While USAMITC has performed similar migration efforts within the Medical Command community, this tri-service requirement was something new and different."

Tolentino shed more light on their challenges. "The tasking we received to meet the BRAC legal requirement of (completion by) mid-September of last year was 'very, very' aggressive and demanding. We had only a few months to prepare for that migration. The team did a great job meeting the challenge."

This migration also included the Dilorenzo Tricare Health Clinic (DTHC) at the Pentagon, a smaller site that falls under WRNMMC. "Due to their visibility and mission of supporting senior level executives at the Pentagon, this site required a lot of attention as well," Tolentino added.