Army MC4 system weathers 'Net outage

Despite this week's massive Internet service outage across the Middle East, the Army's Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) system continued to function in the region because the system uses offline medical recording systems to provide continuous medical care and maintain vital medical records, the Army said today.

Army medical units in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan lost their Internet connections earlier this week when two undersea cables snapped and interrupted Internet access throughout much of the Mideast.

But the Army's hundreds of combat support hospitals and battalion aid stations in the affected region continued to operate, and doctors and nurses continued recording data on patient care using the MC4 system, which the Army deployed in 2003. The system is designed specifically to support medical operations in environments with little or no communications capabilities.

Army medical personnel use MC4 to document patient care, track patients, survey medical situations and automate medical logistics on the battlefield. Since it is designed for deployment in war zones, the system doesn't require a continuous network connection for recording data on patient care, according to the Army's Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Systems, which oversees MC4.

After operation in an area with no network connectivity or once service is restored following a network outage, the MC4 system reconnects to the network and transmits data stored while it was disconnected to a centralized worldwide database. That database is available to medical care providers and commanders for providing ongoing care or observing trends.

The ability to record patient medical data without gaps even during periods when the system isn't attached to a network is part of the Army's commitment to maintaining a lifelong electronic medical record for all its service members, the PEO-EIS said.


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