FORT DETRICK, Md. – The Army’s Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) program was recognized by the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) as the 2011 top information technology (IT) team last week. The AMSUS IT Team Award honors organizations that have made significant contributions in IT, specifically those that improve the effectiveness and cohesiveness of federal health care initiatives. In 2010, MC4 helped field the rapid expansion of technology used to remotely connect Soldiers with mental health physicians in the combat zone.
The Army’s MC4 program trains, fields and supports IT systems that allow deployable medical staff to document and track patient care, digitally manage medical supplies and conduct health surveillance in the combat zone. In addition to fielding new technology, last year MC4 launched new training initiatives to improve electronic medical record-keeping on the battlefield. In return, MC4 users have realized faster set-up times and easier use of the medical records system, while combatant commanders have gained better data integrity and a clearer picture of population health.
“By redirecting our resources away from classroom training and engaging users in garrison and in field exercises, deployed medical staff are now better prepared to use MC4 systems down range,” said MC4 Product Manager Lt. Col. William Geesey.
In addition to improving end-user proficiency, MC4’s involvement in the Army’s Tele-behavioral Health (TBH) Initiative is helping to connect at-risk Soldiers with mental health providers. “Virtual consultations with Soldiers are allowing medical staff to recognize and treat post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and other mental health issues faster,” Lt. Col. Geesey said. “Health care providers don’t have to wait until they arrive at the Soldier’s location to meet with them. Now they can chat virtually when both their schedules allow.”
Initial data indicates that more than 70 percent of the Soldiers seen through this capability likely would not have received services otherwise. The technology also reduces the frequency with which specialists must travel to remote outposts to meet with patients. The initial capability was implemented in October 2010 and completed within six weeks of requirement identification. The Army has endorsed this solution and has directed rapid expansion of the technology and capability throughout Afghanistan.
MC4 received the award on November 9 at the Annual Awards Banquet in San Antonio. Last month, MC4’s Lt. Col. Geesey was also recognized as a finalist for the Secretary of the Army Product Manager of the Year Award. In September, InformationWeek magazine honored the MC4 team with the 2011 Top 15 Government IT Innovators award.