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445th Airman improves DOD e-health records system

Capt. Edward (Bill) W. Woody II, left, accepts the Nick Hoge Award from Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr., Commanding General for the U.S. Army Training Center, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Woody works as a management support specialist with the 165th Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, and he is also a traditional reservist in the 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (Courtesy photo)

Capt. Edward (Bill) W. Woody II, left, accepts the Nick Hoge Award from Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr., Commanding General for the U.S. Army Training Center, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Woody works as a management support specialist with the 165th Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, and he is also a traditional reservist in the 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (Courtesy photo)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

A 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron Airman received a Pentagon-level award after his paper, published in Military Medicine in September 2020, was deemed of great value to the Department of the Army.

Capt. Edward (Bill) W. Woody II, officer in charge of the commander’s inspection program, 445th ASTS, works in a civilian capacity as a management support specialist in the 165th Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He was the 2020 recipient of the Nick Hoge Award, presented to only one civilian employee Army-wide each year. His paper was judged based on factors like originality, quality of writing, scope of the research, timeliness and relevance.

As part of his Doctorate of Business Management coursework through the University of Maryland, Woody researched theories of organizational change and developed implementation strategies for a new electronic health record system currently being rolled out by the Department of Defense.

The new EHR system, named Genesis, is gradually being introduced to bases across the globe using a phase system.

“This change has the potential to directly impact every Airman, every Soldier, every service member,” Woody said. “It will enhance the continuum of care.”

The goal is to streamline patient care, prevent redundant testing, and ensure that service members' medical records remain fully intact, even if the individual transitions into another branch of service, retires, or is medically discharged.

Before becoming a medical service corps officer, Woody was an active duty Solider in the Army and then in the Army Reserve. He then accepted a commission into the Air Force Reserve.

“Traditionally, service members have hand-carried records to the Veterans Affairs (VA) or to a sister branch, hoping nothing got lost or was missed,” he said. “If it was, the individual might have to double back to the previous military treatment facility or attempt to dig up old records.”

The aim is that one consolidated system across the DOD, Genesis, will eliminate this burden.

In the paper, Woody discussed the challenges the DOD may face in trying to overhaul the entire military health system. After closely analyzing about 40 scholarly articles pertaining to organizational change theories and coding the major themes within those sources, Woody outlined three critical success factors (CSFs): process change champions, training, and feedback. He also identified three critical barriers to implementation (CBIs): technophobia, resistance from leaders/providers, and insufficient communication.

“The way an organization implements change is fascinating,” he said. “Leadership plays a proactive role in ensuring seamless transition, but the stakeholders must also buy in.”

Beyond electronic health records, the tenets of organizational change can be applied to other areas of life, he noted.

“Change happens everywhere, all the time. It’s one of those things that we have to deal with, but it’s also incredibly difficult,” Woody said. “There’s not just one way to do it—it’s about finding effective strategies. There will always be opportunities to continually research, adapt and improve.”