This past month, the Department of Defense (DoD) launched their first ever electronic healthcare record (EHR) at Fairchild Air Force Base located in Washington state. The system will combine health records from base primary care providers, pharmacy, laboratory, and immunization and even dental clinics all in one network. According to a news release, it will “also enable the base to share information with civilian and Veterans Affairs providers.”

The EHR is a huge step towards IT modernization for the DoD which has traditionally served over 9.4 million beneficiaries on legacy technology that dates back 30 years. Called the MHS Genesis, the EHR will enable the application of standardized workflows, integrated health care delivery, and data standards in order to provide an improved and secure electronic exchange of medical and patient data.

“This is just the first step in implementing what will be the largest integrated inpatient and outpatient electronic health record in the United States,” Navy Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director said in a statement. “Our beneficiaries’ health care providers will have the latest advancements in technology in a timely manner with minimal disruption to care, giving their patients high quality, safe health care. Patients will also have greater access to their information, letting them be more engaged in their own health-related activities.

The EHR rollout is expected to reach completion by 2022 and with the system slated to serve an estimated 9.4 million patients, one must wonder what type of challenges the federal government will face from a data management perspective. Christopher Ginder, District Manager, Federal Healthcare at NetApp said, “When I speak to federal customers, they are constantly looking to solutions they can scale for the future. They are looking for quicker, more efficient healthcare services they can provide veterans and constituents alike. At NetApp, we have designed our architecture to meet the needs of not just today’s veterans, but tomorrow’s as well.”

Many federal customers like DoD and the VA continue to move applications to the cloud, but there is still a long road ahead as each agency must consider individual security and interoperability concerns. As Christopher noted, “once agencies determine which applications benefit the most from a reduced time to market, it’s easier to understand what types of solutions are really needed, and then, which vendor they should be working with.”

The good news is there are trusted, scalable solutions available like NetApp’s data fabric which moves data on-premises, to the cloud, and back seamlessly. Christopher  added “I regularly speak with federal agencies about how they can benefit from the cloud, but those benefits vary depending on the agency I’m speaking to. For some it’s cost; for others it’s innovation. I think it’s vital that agencies truly understand their internal strategies as it relates to IT, what they are looking to get out of the solutions they are implementing, and if they are moving to the cloud, which applications they should move first in order to benefit the mission.”

Interested in learning more about how NetApp healthcare solutions can benefit your agency? Visit our new healthcare resource center here.

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