Thursday, August 28, 2008

Battlefield Tech Expands

Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) provides digital recording capabilities for access to battlefield medical information. This is accomplished by using ruggedized laptops and handhelds in combat zones to document patient care. The MC4 technology is currently used at all Army and Air Force medical facilities on the battlefield in the multinational forces and observer efforts in Sinai, Egypt as well as by Army Special Forces, Navy, and Marine providers throughout Southwest Asia.

In addition, medical personnel now have more information sources available in the theatre according to an article appearing in the July 2008 MC4 “Gateway Online Newsletter”. Since deployed personnel have fewer hardcopy materials onsite available and bandwidth restrictions can reduce the accessibility to search most web sites, several databases are now provided in the field to help medics obtain information.

One database Micromedex has information on medications and poisons, and the other database MEDIC has information on worldwide diseases and environmental health risks. Both of these databases are located on MC4 systems.

Another source available to medical personnel is the Army Medical Department’s Virtual Library. This source is a central location for databases, online text books, and links to clinical communities. “While accessing online resources in theater can be cumbersome compared to stateside access, one of my favorite sources for information is ,” said Captain William Sanders, Physician Assistant with the 744th Military Police Battalion, Baghdad, Iraq.

LTC Edward C. Michaud, Division Surgeon, 3rd Infantry Division, Ft Steward Georgia, notes that providing input is a challenge in communicating electronically. He reports that the biggest issue continues to be connectivity in theatre and development of agile user-friendly software.

LTC Michaud says that one approach to overcoming the connectivity problem would be to continue to work with the Signal community and the larger Army to coordinate bandwidth. He also suggests that to further develop the software, it would help to use a regulated open architecture system. This would allow for different types of software to be integrated faster and meet the growing demands of the providers.

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