Army medical logistics processes are receiving long-awaited improvements with the Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support (DMLSS) 3.1.2 Prime Vendor Generation IV (GEN IV) application upgrade. The new software will reduce errors, improve customer service, and make processing, ordering, and delivery of supplies more efficient through enhanced capabilities for medical logisticians. The upgrades will affect all echelons, to include Army medical treatment facilities, medical logistics companies, and combat support hospitals.
“We are on the cusp of achieving an Army Medical Department [AMEDD] strategic goal of a joint medical logistics enterprise solution from foxhole to sustaining base,” said Dana Baker, Chief of the Medical Logistics Informatics Division in the Office of the Surgeon General (OTSG)/Medical Command, who assisted with the DMLSS upgrade. “Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine units in theater and medical treatment facilities will now share the same automated medical system.”
DMLSS is an automated information system enabling the management of inventory, ordering of supplies, and the tracking and maintenance of medical equipment. Army medical personnel using the Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) system to electronically manage medical supplies (class VIII) will soon experience new DMLSS capabilities that include price validation and catalog management.
The DMLSS upgrades will be fielded to 61 Army units and more than 5,000 users in eight countries: the United States, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Korea, and Japan. About 150 MC4 users in five locations will gain use of the new medical supply interface this fall.
Training for DMLSS and other U.S. Army Medical Logistics tools will be made universal. A similar design framework was used for DMLSS and the DMLSS Customer Assistance Module, another application for managing class VIII supplies, for which MC4 users are set to receive updates later this year. Using this similar look and feel reduces the learning curve and streamlines crossover among applications, among other enhancements.
“Improved catalog data, synchronized to an authoritative data source and providing one-stop shopping for complete, accurate, and up-to-date vendor catalog data is the major enhancement for GEN IV users,” Baker said. “The ultimate goal is to reduce pricing errors. These enhancements are a result of feedback from users, inefficiencies, and corrupted data that we [OTSG] identified.”
Moving forward, the catalog will look the same on every computer and will connect to a medical master catalog authoritative source. This improvement will reduce the cost of goods, improve the identity and accessibility of items, and facilitate medical-surgical standardization efforts.
The three-year project to upgrade DMLSS to 3.1.2 will be implemented by August 2013; at that time, the Army will turn off a legacy system, the Theater Army Medical Materiel Information System, a medical supply app dating to the 1990s. No longer will Soldiers have to work with green screens and function keys to manage medical supply orders, because DMLSS has a graphic user interface that provides a modern look and feel.
“Migrating to a joint medical logistics enterprise system positions us to embrace shared services and data,” Baker said. “The Army won’t have to support and resource an AMEDD-unique medical logistics system anymore.”
MC4 integrates, fields, and supports a comprehensive medical information system, enabling lifelong electronic medical records, streamlined medical logistics, and enhanced situational awareness for Army operational forces. The Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, Fort Belvoir, VA, oversees the MC4 Product Management Office at Fort Detrick, MD.
Since 2003, MC4 has enabled the capture of more than 17 million electronic patient encounters in the combat zone. MC4 has also trained 64,000 medical staff and commanders, and fielded 51,000 systems to 2,400 units with medical personnel, to include Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, and active units in 15 countries.
For more information on MC4, visit www.mc4.army.mil.
- —MC4 Public Affairs