MC4 successfully demonstrated new capabilities for the electronic capture and transport of medical data at an important testing event that took place in May and July this year: The Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (C4ISR) and Network Modernization (NetMod) 2013 Event. Held during two separate sessions to assess emerging capabilities with Army health stakeholders, the event was hosted by Fort Dix, N.J., and was sponsored by the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC).
The primary objective of the E13 May exercise was to assess CERDEC's Multi-Access Cellular Extension Mesh network with the Army’s organic network capabilities to determine if the network is a feasible extension to Soldiers at point-of-injury (POI). To support this assessment, MC4 introduced new capabilities for the electronic capture/transport of medical data from POI to the next echelon of care. We provided battle injury scenarios and subject matter expertise to help integrate the new capabilities with the MC4 electronic medical record (EMR) system and provided MC4 Android-based App training and CERDEC-developed Telemedic App training (digital stethoscope) for two Fort Dix medics.
Simulated POI data was successfully transported across a tactical network to an MC4 laptop at the battalion aide station (BAS). Also, MC4 software apps were installed on the Samsung Note II Android end-user devices (EUDs) that are currently being tested by the PEO Soldier/Nett Warrior (NW) program. The MC4 medical apps included MC4Core, which is the main app that houses the user and patient data and provides access to settings and import/export capabilities. Also installed were the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TC3) card and the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation (MACE) exam apps; all apps may eventually be available for download by registered users of CERDEC’s Tactical Marketplace (TacMark).
Patient demographics were imported from a Common Access Card (CAC) using a BAI sled CAC reader connected via Bluetooth, or imported wirelessly, from AHLTA-Theater (AHLTA-T) on an MC4 laptop. POI encounters were exported wirelessly from the EUD to an MC4 laptop at the BAS. The medics made several valuable recommendations about the MC4 capabilities that were implemented and carried forward for the E13 summer exercise for further evaluation.
The primary objective of the E13 July exercise was to demonstrate new MC4 capabilities for the electronic capture and transport of POI medical data (using the NW EUD) along with MEDEVAC data on its way to a treatment facility. Two additional ground medics, a flight medic and a physician's assistant assisted alongside the Fort Dix medics in the evaluation of these capabilities.
These exercises were designed to mimic actual theater experiences, with a platoon of ground Soldiers, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and battle injury scenarios.
MC4 collaborated with CERDEC to introduce the near field communication (NFC) smartcard, which served as an electronic information carrier (EIC), potentially filling a current capability gap at POI. The MC4 apps communicated with the NFC smartcard to retrieve patient demographics and store encounters for transport with the patients to their next level of treatment. The NFC smartcard data was then uploaded to AHLTA-T on the MC4 laptop via the NFC smartcard utility.
The event participants transferred the medical encounter data to the Theater Medical Data Store (TMDS) Training database from an MC4 laptop running the Theater Medical Information Program (TMIP).
Overall, I’m pleased to say the capabilities worked as designed and were well-received by the participants. Refined AMEDD requirements, along with user community feedback, will help determine if the MC4 apps and other emerging capabilities are feasible for POI applications in future deployments of the MC4 system. There is currently no plan to deploy these capabilities as there is no infrastructure in place to support them.
I’d like to thank folks who helped out with this test: Ground medics Sgt. Kelly Franco, Spc. Franklin Barbee, Sgt. Andrew Danforth and Sgt. John Meachum; flight medic Staff Sgt. Jeff Molles and physician assistant Maj. Joseph Eddins.