Army to roll out 'major' EHR upgrade

The U.S. Army is gearing up for a "major" upgrade of its electronic health record system--known as the Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4)--to better support soldiers, veterans, and users, according to a new article published in The Gateway.

The new software suite, known as EMR, will include an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 and a new version of the Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support (DMLSS) Customer Assistance Module (DCAM) 1.4.7., which will aid in streamlining medical logistics.

Testing of the upgrade ended in June. The roll out will take place from November 2013 to April 2014.

"The system data helps ensure that soldiers have a secure, accessible and lifelong EMR, resulting in easier access to medical benefits, peace of mind and better informed health care," the article states. "MC4 is more than an EMR system. It offers commanders the ability to assess unit readiness with injury and trauma data and also provides tools for automating medical logistics."

The system also will have tighter security. For the first time, users will need Public Key Infrastructure-Enterprise (PKI-E) certifications, which are a way for a computer to verify that the other computers it's interacting with are legitimate. The new certificates are a requirement for the U.S. Department of Defense; self-signed certificates will no longer be allowed.

This upgrade comes at a time when the DoD and the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs have been under the gun to integrate their EHRs. The development of an integrated DoD-VA EHR has been plagued with problems for years; the idea building such a system from scratch was axed in February.

Congress has since stepped in to spur integration, with proposed legislation to establish strict timelines for patient data sharing.

To learn more:
- here's the article
- read about the certifications