Since we launched the MC4 Strategic Plan more than two years ago, we’ve been making great strides in expanding and institutionalizing the use of MC4 system in the Army. It doesn’t make sense to train up deploying medical personnel at the last minute; health care providers need to be competent in using hardware and applications that support and maintain an electronic medical record (EMR) well before they arrive in theater.
To meet this need, we’ve been expanding training opportunities to include use of MC4 in garrison aid stations where paper was used and in training exercises. To augment these efforts, we must also offer formal training at institutions. The Army owns a bevy of school houses that do just that.
In addition to increasing MC4 training offerings, we need to strive for uniformity and consistency in MC4 learning. Inconsistency is breeding confusion among Soldiers and units as to what training is required and when and how to complete it. This exacerbates the situation when leaders at every level aren’t sharing a unified vision on how to manage and execute an EMR system. While the Commander’s Guide to MC4 addresses best practices, standardization can best be addressed in the classroom. For the past several months, we’ve been actively evaluating and identifying ways to bridge these training gaps, reinforcing MC4’s training strategy that is aligned to the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) cycle.
Specifically, electronic documentation tools, like MC4, need to be utilized during institutional training, particularly when a combat medic’s first experience with documenting patient care electronically is at the unit level. The addition of MC4 training at medical simulation training centers (MSTCs) is a step in the right direction…more to follow on this in December.
As you may already know, two days of MC4-focused training will now be offered exclusively to Physician Assistants (PAs) as part of the Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) Basic Officer Leader’s Course (BOLC) beginning this December.
MC4 training is already part of the Brigade Surgeon Course curriculum that’s led by the AMEDD Center and School, but we’re hoping to offer MC4 training in other AMEDD courses like Pharmacy Technician, Radiology Technician, Laboratory Technician and Health Care Specialist Advance Individual Training (AIT) in the future. Ancillary Services personnel will need to know how to use the MC4 system to manage medications, x-rays, and lab results, so it makes sense to target their training during AITs.
During a teleconference call last month, Maj. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the incoming surgeon general, recommended bringing non-commissioned officers (NCOs) back into the training fold, too. NCOs play a critical role in the level of success for EMRs at Army roles I, II and III and I agree that they should be receiving appropriate training. We’re working to make MC4 a fixture of the pre-deployment culminating training events (CTE) so that all users receive the hands-on-experience they need before deploying overseas.
MC4 is also working on developing collective training products that crosswalk MC4 tasks to the Combined Arms Training Strategy (CATS). These training support packages can facilitate a commander’s comprehensive MC4 training programs for level I, II, and III, medical logistics (MEDLOG) units and mission command units.
Even further down the road is training for combat medics. Once the Army identifies an approved mobile hand-held device, we’d like to go to the combat medic course, 68W-Health Care Specialist formerly known as Combat Medical Specialist, to train medics on how to use the handheld and get their feedback on how it performs during scenario-based training. This will provide us with valuable information as we move forward.
By incorporating MC4 into training courses and exercises that are already standardized within the Army, we’ll be able to achieve Maj. Gen. Horoho’s goal of making sure all deployed medical staff have the necessary expertise to be successful with MC4 downrange. For more information on training and materials, MC4 maintains a repository of training materials on AKO. Keep an eye out for other announcements about new training opportunities in the upcoming months.