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Life-Saving Technology Expands Globally to Military Branches - Transforming the Way Medical Care is Documented on the Battlefield

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 General News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, May 27 U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. EricB. Schoomaker today announced continued expansion of medical informationtechnology to support a comprehensive electronic health record led by theArmy. Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care, or MC4, providesdigital recording capabilities and access to battlefield medical informationvia ruggedized laptops and handhelds intended to be used in combat zones todocument patient care.

MC4 is now used at all Army and Air Force medical facilities on thebattlefield, in the Multinational Forces and Observers Effort in Sinai, Egypt,as well as by Army Special Forces, Navy and Marine providers throughoutSouthwest Asia. The system ensures that service members have an electronic,lifelong medical record. More than five million electronic medical recordshave been captured since MC4's deployment in 2003.

"Everyone wants MC4 because of its universal benefits," said Lt. Col.Edward T. Clayson, commander of the Army's MC4 program. "Soldiers receiveimproved continuity of care, providers have up-to-date information to avoidrepeat procedures and commanders have improved medical situational awarenessto better place their medical resources and personnel on the battlefield."

When seconds count, the medical information of a wounded or ill servicemember can be beamed around the world to hospitals and doctor's officesstraight from the battlefield in advance of their arrival.

Wounded Soldier Staff Sgt. Matthew Sims experienced the benefits of MC4firsthand. "Having my medical records available electronically has helpeddoctors track and follow the treatment I have received at all of the differentfacilities," Sims said.

To date, the Army's MC4 program has deployed more than 24,000 systems tomedical units in Iraq and 13 other countries, and trained more than 26,000field medics, doctors, nurses and commanders on how to use the system incombat support hospitals and battalion aid stations.

Air Force Lt. Col. John Mansfield, M.D., is a strong proponent of a jointmedical record initiative, saying most military bases already have jointoperability so a single platform just makes sense.

"At Balad Air Force Base, 95 percent of the hospital staff is Air Forcepersonnel, but most of the U.S. patients treated here are Army or MarineCorps," Lt. Col. Mansfield said. "We don't care what uniform our patientswear, but it would drive us crazy if there were different systems to documentcare based on their service."

After the Gulf War, thousands of deployed service members returned fromduty without proof of combat-related illnesses and injuries, resulting in lossof benefits. In 1997, Presidential and Congressional mandates chose to adjustcourse by calling for a medical tracking system and lifelong electronicmedical record for all service members - MC4 is that solution.

"MC4 is the most comprehensive, proven information medical system on thebattlefield," Lt. Col. Clayson said.

Clayson adds that MC4 provides service members with peace of mind thattheir deployed medical data is truly complete and available to them when theyreturn home, aids in the receipt of healthcare benefits from the VeteransAdministration and establishes a lifetime continuity of care.

Learn more about the Army Surgeon General's announcement atwww.armymedicaltechnology.com. For more information about MC4, visitwww.mc4.army.mil.

SOURCE U.S. Army
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