Mistakes in the Department of Defense's new electronic health record system raise concerns among vendors

Mistakes in the Department of Defense’s new electronic health record system raise concerns among vendors

Patient health care information is not always accurate or complete in the Department of Defense’s new electronic record system, according to a survey conducted by the Inspector General’s Office of Defense Health Professionals.

These digital records allow providers to share a patient’s information with other providers, both inside and outside the military health system. But mistakes and errors have impacted doctors’ ability to provide quality care to patients, according to the IG.

Nearly 58 percent of respondents expressed concern about the accuracy and completeness of electronic health records, according to auditors, according to a May 5 management advisory report. Conducted in October and November 2020, the survey reached 7,378 health workers in eight military care facilities. Of these, 701 suppliers responded, 9.5%. Among the results:

  • 260 vendors identified Department of Defense patient health information that was inaccurate or incomplete in the military health system’s Genesis electronic records system.

  • 172 providers identified inaccurate or incomplete patient health care information in MHS Genesis.

  • 248 vendors identified inaccurate or incomplete information in other systems used by vendors to obtain a patient’s medical records.

In his response to Department of Defense reviewers, Army Lieutenant General Ronald Place, Director of the Defense Health Agency, said health officials have been working on MHS Genesis improvements throughout 2021, performing two major commercial system updates. and creating 13 new capabilities.

That team also resolved more than 3,500 problem tickets submitted by Genesis users, which resulted in 1,393 “user-directed” system changes, he said.

Place said DHA has already begun working with healthcare professionals to assess how the system works for them and to determine if the concerns highlighted in the IG survey still exist. For those who do, DHA is developing a plan to address them, she said.

The Department of Defense began implementing MHS Genesis at military medical treatment facilities in 2017. As of December 2021, Genesis was being used in 49 of its 490 MTFs, according to auditors. The Department of Defense plans to complete the launch of Genesis on all of its MTFs by 2023.

Digital records contain the patient’s up-to-date medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, radiological images, and laboratory and test results. They allow access to clinical tools, such as real-time reporting, that providers can use to make decisions about patient care and should automate and simplify work to provide timely and effective treatment.

About 94% of providers who responded to the survey said inaccurate or incomplete health information impacted their ability to provide quality care. About 40% said it led to an inaccurate, delayed or incomplete diagnosis; 35% said this resulted in longer patient visit times; and 25% reported that patients had to make more visits than would have been necessary to complete their care.

Of the 145 respondents who reported using medical devices (such as X-ray equipment) to provide care, 56% said these devices sometimes transferred inaccurate or incomplete information to MHS Genesis. Not all medical devices interact with MHS Genesis.

‚ÄĚThese display devices / systems (eg radiology) DO NOT ‘connect’ to [MHS Genesis]Wrote one provider. Another said, “… the process of plugging medical devices is CONTRAST to 21st century health care delivery. We simply choose to ignore that the equipment is not plugged in.”

The reviewers noted that one of the limitations of the survey was that there most likely existed “a non-response bias” because healthcare professionals who did not have significant problems with MHS Genesis were less likely to respond.

“As a result, we are more likely to hear respondents who have had significant problems with using MHS Genesis,” they wrote. “As a result, the survey results are likely to be biased towards those with problems.”

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