"As a Flight Surgeon, being able to customize the interface the way it works for me and review patient records easily in one location improves the quality of care I can provide." – Flight Surgeon
As of April 2021, there are more than 42,000 federal electronic health record (EHR) users (e.g., doctors, nurses) at 42 Military Medical Treatment Facility Commands, two Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sites and four Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) sites across 16 states.
"Processes have been streamlined. [It] provides a wealth of information and aides in tracking all patients throughout our emergency department, urgent care and waiting area. Easy-to-identify icons notify staff of actions to take and clicking allows for easy documenting." – Emergency Room Nurse
The federal EHR enables more standard workflows and standard practices to support enhanced clinical decision-making. Workflows are the series of tasks required to complete a health care function (for example, ordering a medication). Workflows are established for common health care and support functions. Standard workflows are considered best practice because they guide compliance with clinical care guidelines and permit staff to move between offices and facilities with reduced re-learning and re-training. For example, the Department of Defense (DOD) and VA’s joint data management and analysis efforts led to the ability to improve the process for prescribing opioids. Patients at risk of an opioid overdose who receive opioid pain medication will also receive a life-saving drug that counteracts the opioid prescribed along with education.
"Medical documentation that used to require me to access four separate medical record systems can now be done in this one consolidated application. My work is able to be completed much quicker, but more importantly, this documentation is available to military medical providers across the system. It is really creating a much more complete medical and surgical record." – General Surgeon
Providers are reporting they are spending less time on documentation and more time on direct patient care and interaction. This is invaluable.
Enhancing Patient Safety
"Having a single medication administration record [ensures] all caregivers are aware of the medications a patient has received and protects against potential duplicate medications being given." – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
The federal EHR also enhances patient safety. Barcoding and medicine reconciliation features substantially reduce inpatient medication harm events, while automatic alerts notify providers of potential harm when administering medications containing opioids.
Enhancing the Patient Experience
"The patient portal has empowered my patients to take their health care into their own hands and increased patient engagement with their health care team. Knowing that you can communicate with your provider with the click of a button is not only reassuring from a patient standpoint, but also key to fostering positive relationships and improving health care outcomes." – Nurse Practitioner
The federal EHR puts patients at the center. Patients benefit from the following:
- They spend less time repeating their health history to providers, undergoing duplicative tests and managing printed health records.
- Their providers have access to their data such as service treatment records, Service medals and honors, housing status and other information to ensure they receive all the benefits they earned when they transition to civilian life in a seamless, timely fashion.
- Conversations with their providers start more productively since providers already have a more comprehensive picture of their health before their appointment.
- Their providers are able to make more informed decisions about their care as they have access to more relevant data.
- They have a seamless care experience. Regardless of whether they get care from DOD, VA, USCG or another health care system participating in the joint health information exchange, their providers will be able to easily exchange and access their health information to enhance their quality of care and satisfaction.
Responding to the Pandemic
"COVID-19 ultimately showed that the federal EHR offers adaptability and flexibility in dynamic environments, ensuring resiliency in health care systems for our Services members, Veterans and their families." – FEHRM Director
COVID-19 recently demonstrated the success and critical need of a federal EHR. The federal EHR has quickly adapted to the changing demands on the system and supported providers during the pandemic. It is far more adaptable and configurable than legacy systems. For example, the FEHRM, along with DOD, implemented COVID-specific configuration changes in the federal EHR within four hours. The same changes in legacy systems took nearly four weeks to implement.
During the pandemic, the FEHRM, along with DOD, developed a mass vaccination process to assess the status of Service member vaccinations in order to ensure readiness—the ability to deploy. The process was so successful that Cerner adopted it, making the solution part of its baseline product. It’s now available to all of their commercial customers. The FEHRM and DOD is now looking at how to modify the mass vaccination process to do mass lab testing.
The FEHRM and DOD also integrated an Immunization Forecaster into the EHR to help pediatricians know when patients need the next round of appropriate vaccines. These efforts and more are especially timely to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations.
Driving Success in Health Care
"[It] allows our referring providers to speed up patient care by getting results sooner. We're often the link between an imaging exam and pathologic diagnosis; the faster we can provide results, the faster a patient receives treatment for their condition as well as ease of mind. As a doctor, it's fantastic to have a complete patient history in one system." – Chief of Vascular/Interventional Radiology
Check out the articles below for more success stories related to the federal EHR.
- The first weekend after launching the federal EHR at Naval Medical Center San Diego, a critical 27-week newborn arrived showcasing how the EHR is a vital tool for care delivery.
- The federal EHR improves the patient experience for military families.
- The federal EHR enables more standard workflows to support enhanced clinical decision-making and patient safety. For example, the opioid tool within the federal EHR improves patient safety.
- The federal EHR helps enhance the delivery of life-saving blood.
- Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, CA conducted a mass-vaccination screening using the federal EHR mass vaccination process.
- The federal EHR MassVax system is a big part of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
- Nurses report the federal EHR helps keep track of patients' medical histories, past bases they've been at and provides the ability to see up-to-date records
- The federal EHR enables convenient, timely and expert interpretation of results.