Air Force finishes combat health IT deployment

By Peter Buxbaum
01:24 PM

The Air Force recently completed deploying health information technology provided by the Army Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) at all of its forward medical facilities.

This development marks the continued expansion of MC4 beyond is original base in the Army.

MC4 technology is now used at all forward Army and Air Force medical facilities, by the Multinational Forces and Observers Effort stationed on the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, and by some Navy and Marine providers in Southwest Asia.

Then completion of the deployment by the Air Force "sets a precedent for other deployed forces to follow suit," said Ryan Loving, MC4 operations manager.

MC4 supports electronic health records for service personnel and enables documentation of medical information on the battlefield with ruggedized laptop and handheld PCs. More than five million electronic medical records have been captured since MC4's deployment in 2003, according to a recent announcement from the Army chief information officer.

The system ensures that service members have a comprehensive medical record by capturing information on the battlefield and at forward medical facilities.

"Medical providers have information at their fingertips and are able to share it with their peers in order to provide better care for deployed service members," Loving said.

MC4 has deployed more than 24,000 systems to medical units in Iraq and 13 other countries and trained more than 26,000 field medics, doctors, nurses, and commanders on how to use the system.

"Greater usage of the system enables a broader scope for capturing medical data for all service members," Loving said.

MC4 recently embarked on a best-business-practice initiative to train commanders and policymakers on the use of the system, according to Loving. The program is designed to enable commanders and policymakers to better advise users on the system.