When a service member is sick or injured, immediate, high-quality care is critical. The Military Health System (MHS) ensures that military forces have ready access to healthcare practitioners and a global network of hospitals and clinics known as military treatment facilities (MTFs). The MHS also supports more than nine million military family members in one of the largest health benefit plans in the country.
Nearly three decades ago, MHS made its first major foray into healthcare IT by moving from paper records to a series of computerized, electronic health records (EHRs). Recently, MHS has taken another enormous leap forward through the deployment of MHS GENESIS, its widely anticipated integrated EHR system. How does MHS GENESIS help share electronic data across one of the nation’s largest health systems? Doctors, patients, and healthcare professionals log on to the medical community of interest (Med-COI) network, an integrated health IT environment hosted by the Defense Health Agency (DHA). As a major contractor for DHA’s migration and modernization project, ECS is responsible for leading the migration to the Med-COI.
From Legacy to Modern-Day
In the past, each branch of the military had its own medical organization. The healthcare systems of the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force were collaborative but siloed. Logistics and disparate IT networks created delays—in access to medical records, and at times in medical care, for military personnel and families. As technology advanced, it became clear that IT capabilities needed to be modernized. Medical professionals needed fast and effective access to patient records regardless of where servicemembers were geographically, and irrespective of the military branch in which they served.
Working towards integration and interoperability in military healthcare has been a long and complex process. Change began in 2013, with DHA’s effort to consolidate and standardize the military’s individual medical departments along with their IT infrastructure and systems. ECS established a strong customer relationship with DHA early in the agency’s history and continues to support DHA as they successfully implement an integrated infrastructure.
Since the inception of the Med-COI network, ECS has played a key role in delivering architecture, design, implementation, and sustainment services. Today, we continue to provide these services alongside migrating systems to the Med-COI resulting in the goal of EHR integration.
ECS supports DHA as they address privacy and cybersecurity concerns during the migration to the Med-COI. DHA has implemented a network architecture at MTFs that ensures secure migration of systems and applications onto the Med-COI. In support of this effort, ECS is delivering innovative security system architecture, network infrastructure modernization solutions, and providing CSSP services that secure the Med-COI while allowing the business of the DHA to operate without interruption.
MHS GENESIS also requires additional cybersecurity measures in order to protect patient information, and ECS has been instrumental in securing MHS systems and data. ECS architects and engineers, in conjunction with DHA leadership, developed the DHA enterprise-level DMZ separation standards referred to as the Zone Architecture (ZA). This ZA was developed to both meet DOD system separation requirements and tailored for DHA to include a wide range of devices with differing security postures.
Partnership and Collaboration
The migration from the military’s legacy systems to the Med-COI requires collaboration between several departments and agencies. ECS is providing engineering and IT modernization solutions in support of the Med-COI, as well as cyber engineering, network security operations center (NSOC) support, infrastructure modernization, and cloud engineering services. The move to the Med-COI provides DHA visibility into the total cost of ownership, better security awareness, and a broad and comprehensive view of their enterprise.