Medical system debuts in Persian Gulf

Medical system debuts in Persian Gulf

The Army's Medical Service Corps has sent more than 140 notebook and handheld PCs to battlefield medics in Iraq as part of its Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care program.

MC4 systems, which consist of Panasonic CF-48 notebook PCs and Portable Data Terminal 8000 handhelds from Symbol Technologies Inc. of Holtsville, N.Y., run software that lets combat medics perform a range of tasks. Medics can enter information directly to a soldier's medical records and track the whereabouts and symptoms of patients throughout the theater. Medical workers also can use the software to order medical supplies in bulk.

The integrated software package will link health care providers, medical diagnostic systems, and the Army's command and control systems to provide accurate conditions of deployed medical personnel as well as injured or deceased warfighters, officials said.

Lt. Col. Claude Hines, product manager for MC4, operated by the Medical Service Corps at Fort Detrick, Md., said the system, which is a recent upgrade from the paper-based tag system used in Afghanistan and in the first Gulf War, will save time and lives.

Hines discussed MC4 at the Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems Industry Day yesterday in Falls Church, Va.

'In the future, the patient will have some kind of stored digital record,' Hines said. 'In the old days, information was kept on a field medical card. They would hang the card somewhere on a solider. The problem was if it was raining, or got lost, no one knew what treatment was done.'

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