Located 37 miles northeast of Barstow, against the imposing backdrop of the Calico Mountains of the Mojave Desert in northern San Bernardino County, California is an almost 5-year-old state-of-the-art hospital at Fort Irwin. And digital transformation is the beating heart of this unique facility…
The Military Health System (MHS)
The Military Health System (MHS) is one of America’s largest and most complex healthcare institutions, and the world’s preeminent military healthcare delivery operation. WACH enables the National Defense Strategy by “providing a Medically Ready Force, a Ready Medical Force, and improving the health of all those entrusted to its care, through cutting edge medical technology and techniques”.
CIO at WACH since 2005 (including a 12-year stint at the legacy site), Michael Haenelt first enlisted into the Army in 1988 when he got to work on the technological side of operations. “I had established the first online teaching tool for a community college, and I was teaching all the instructors and all the other people around the college, how to use technology, and that’s exactly what they needed in this hospital,” he explains.
“When I first started working here, we were in an old hospital built in the sixties, but we eventually outgrew it, and so Congress approved a new hospital for us. There were hundreds of meetings planning for this new hospital, and all the different things that would go into it, but we finally moved into this LEED Platinum facility with a state-of-the-art data centre, and an inline cooling system, and a super UPS (uninterruptible power supply) (to feed the data centre) in September of 2017.”
It is the work of Haenelt and his team that forms the technological foundation and enablement of the hospital’s work; a function becoming increasingly vital as the very nature of healthcare becomes more reliant upon digital and technological solutions and tools.