Army deploying EHR upgrade

The U.S. Army has started fielding the major update of its electronic health record system to improve medical treatment for soldiers, according to a recent article posted on its official homepage.

The software system, known as the Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care--or MC4--will ensure that soldiers "wounded on the battlefield will have detailed permanent accounts of the scenario and treatment received," according to the article. The upgrade, called EMR, also uses a newer version of Windows, improves the security of the data and improves patient safety relating to allergy and medical history information.   

"In theater, we capture data in a repository known as the theater medical data store," Lt. Col. Keith Harley, assistant product manager for MC4, told the Army News Service. "That allows all information to be available to providers anywhere in the treatment of that soldier from the time of point-of-injury all the way to the time he's evacuated to places like Walter Reed or San Antonio."

More than 500 active, National Guard and Reserve medical units use the EHR system in 16 countries. The roll out is expected to continue through April.

The upgrade comes as the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veteran's Affairs are under pressure to integrate their EHRs, a project that has been plagued with problems for years. The Defense Health Agency--created last fall to streamline healthcare among the Navy, Army and Air Force medical departments--has been sending mixed signals regarding integration, issuing a solicitation to keep its legacy systems, but asking in its proposed budget for an increase that would more than triple funds for its work on an integrated EHR.

To learn more:
- here's the Army News Service article