Tricare users filling prescriptions at test sites for the new Genesis heath records program are likely the patient group most frustrated by the new electronic health record system, which is commercially designed and to be phased in across all of military health care by 2022 and adopted as well to modernize record keeping in the VA health care system.
"With the system for pharmacy it's an all-day event" to get a new prescription filled, complained Alice Dowie, a retired Air Force Reserve officer who uses Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Lakewood, Wash. "You can take a number, go to the PX, go to the commissary, have lunch and still have a wait when you return. Not customer friendly for sick people."
"Pull a ticket and I've waited as long as three-and-a half hours" to fill a new prescription, said retired Army Warrant Officer Roy Peterson, 74, who lives an hour from Madigan in Graham, Wash. "Now I've gotten smarter. When I go to the hospital, if I think I'm going to get a new prescription, I'll pull one of those tickets right away. But when I finished with my appointment, I'll still wait two more hours before I've got my prescription."
Madigan is the largest of four military treatment facilities testing the new electronic health record system. The other three - Naval Hospital Bremerton, Fairchild Air Force Base clinic and Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor - have all seen pharmacy operations slow dramatically as they struggle to adapt to Genesis.
It was an unpleasant week for those associated with the $4.3 billion health records contract after the online news site Politico reported on an April 30 "partial" assessment of the new system prepared by Robert Behler, the Defense Department's director of operational test and evaluation.
"Genesis is neither operationally effective nor operationally suitable" to replace the military's current health record systems, Behler wrote. It fails to "demonstrate enough workable functionality to manage and document patient care." Also, test sites have suffered from "poor system usability, insufficient training and inadequate helpdesk support." Madigan was the lone test site of the four not assessed by the test team but will be later this year.
To comment, write Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120 or email email@example.com or twitter: Tom Philpott @Military_Update