LTC Rafael G. Semidei Sr. (on screen), a psychiatrist with the 883rd Medical Detachment (Combat Stress Control), and SGT Marie Swieta, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge with the 547th Area Support Medical Company (Combat Stress Control), demonstrate the tele-behavioral health system in Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo courtesy of Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4).)
The U.S. Army’s Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) Program has earned the distinction of having the 2011 top information technology (IT) team from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS). The AMSUS Information Technology 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 connect Soldiers remotely with mental health physicians in the combat zone.
The Army’s MC4 Program, within Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, 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. MC4 users have realized faster setup times and easier use of the medical records system, while combatant commanders have gained better data integrity and a clearer picture of the population’s 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 downrange,” said MC4 Product Manager LTC William E. Geesey.
In addition to improving end users’ proficiency, MC4’s involvement in the Army’s Tele-behavioral Health 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,” 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 indicate that more than 70 percent of the Soldiers seen through this capability probably 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 identifying the requirement. The Army has endorsed this solution and has directed rapid expansion of the technology and capability throughout Afghanistan.
The MC4 team received the AMSUS Information Technology Award Nov. 9 at the AMSUS Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX. Geesey was also a nominee for the 2011 Secretary of the Army Product Manager of the Year Award. In September, InformationWeek magazine named the MC4 team one of the Top 15 Government IT Innovators of 2011.
- MEDICAL COMMUNICATIONS FOR COMBAT CASUALTY CARE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE
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