USA — Troops in Korea Train on Casualty Reporting System

WASHINGTON — Mil­i­tary med­ical per­son­nel here are wrap­ping up train­ing that ensures the 28,000 U.S. troops in South Korea are cov­ered by the same casu­al­ty report­ing sys­tem being used in Afghanistan, Iraq and 13 oth­er for­ward-deployed loca­tions around the world.

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Army Spc. Bona­part Wery, a medic with the 557th Mil­i­tary Police Com­pa­ny in South Korea, fore­ground, and oth­er U.S. Forces Korea mem­bers train in the Med­ical Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Com­bat Casu­al­ty Care sys­tem in use in Iraq, Afghanistan, and oth­er for­ward-deployed loca­tions, includ­ing South Korea.
DoD pho­to by Don­na Miles
Click to enlarge

Eighth U.S. Army is com­plet­ing a month of one-day class­es on the Med­ical Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Com­bat Casu­al­ty Care -– or MC4 -– sys­tem that cap­tures details about med­ical care pro­vid­ed to all for­ward-deployed U.S. forces, said Army Maj. Kevin Peck, chief infor­ma­tion offi­cer for the 65th Med­ical Brigade at Yongsan Gar­ri­son here.

Although the sys­tem isn’t new to the Kore­an penin­su­la, annu­al train­ing class­es intro­duce med­ical per­son­nel who are new to the mil­i­tary or have nev­er deployed to use the MC4 sys­tem. The class­es also offer a chance for any­one who hasn’t used the sys­tem for awhile to brush up on its fea­tures.

MC4 start­ed life in 2003 as an Army plat­form, Peck explained. But, he said, the Air Force and Navy both adopt­ed it three years ago to replace their own sep­a­rate elec­tron­ic med­ical records sys­tems for deployed air­men, sailors and Marines. The Navy still uses a sep­a­rate report­ing sys­tem aboard ships at sea.

The result is an increas­ing­ly uni­ver­sal med­ical records sys­tem, Peck said, not­ing a grow­ing list high­ly deploy­able com­mands are adopt­ing MC4 for use at their home sta­tions.

Medics with the 2nd Infantry Divi­sion — serv­ing just south of the demil­i­ta­rized zone sep­a­rat­ing the two Kore­as, the world’s most heav­i­ly armed bor­der — rec­og­nize the val­ue of using a sin­gle sys­tem to track patient care, whether at morn­ing sick call or in com­bat.

“Each day, they’re log­ging into the same exact box that, if we go to war, they are going to pick up and walk out the door with and do patient care,” Peck said. “So there is no learn­ing curve for these guys. They walk out the door and they keep doing the same thing they’ve been doing every day in the first place.”

MC4 rep­re­sents a major step toward improv­ing med­ical records accu­ra­cy and ulti­mate­ly, patient care, said Peck, who over­saw the system’s use at numer­ous med­ical treat­ment facil­i­ties in Iraq before report­ing to his cur­rent post.

“I think our providers are giv­ing these kids the best care in the world. [They are doing] phe­nom­e­nal work, sav­ing lives and limbs,” he said. “How­ev­er, if we stop there and don’t doc­u­ment it prop­er­ly in MC4, then we haven’t fin­ished the job.”

The sys­tem begins at the point of injury, where the tend­ing medic keys-in details about the patient’s con­di­tion and ren­dered med­ical care into a rugged, hand­held device. That infor­ma­tion, which is then down­loaded into a cen­tral data repos­i­to­ry, will con­tin­ue to fol­low the patient through suc­ces­sive treat­ment facil­i­ties in the the­ater and beyond, Peck explained.

The infor­ma­tion will remain with the patients as they are evac­u­at­ed to Land­stuhl Region­al Med­ical Cen­ter in Ger­many, to Wal­ter Reed Army Med­ical Cen­ter in Wash­ing­ton, the Nation­al Naval Med­ical Cen­ter in Bethes­da, Md., or anoth­er major mil­i­tary med­ical cen­ter.

The data con­tin­ues with them through­out the rest of their mil­i­tary ser­vice, into retire­ment or as they tran­si­tion to the Vet­er­ans Affairs Department’s sys­tem.

“The impor­tance of this is that now, [for] every­body who is deployed down­range, all their med­ical record data and their doc­u­men­ta­tion are put into the same sys­tem,” Peck said.

This helps med­ical per­son­nel pre­pare to receive incom­ing casu­al­ties before they arrive and elim­i­nates any con­fu­sion about med­ical pro­ce­dures already per­formed or med­ica­tions pre­scribed, Peck said.

“I know that if I send one of my sol­diers down­range and he gets hurt, that he is not only going to receive the best med­ical care in the world on the spot, but that the care is going to con­tin­ue with him as he evac­u­ates out of the the­ater” and onto fol­low-on treat­ment in Ger­many and the Unit­ed States, Peck said. “That care is going to fol­low him the whole way along.”

VA has access to the same records, which Peck said will clear up gray areas that can delay reviews for dis­abil­i­ty ben­e­fits and oth­er ser­vices.

One of the big advan­tages of MC4 is that it requires no imme­di­ate Inter­net con­nec­tiv­i­ty to oper­ate. That makes it as use­ful dur­ing the first phas­es of con­tin­gency oper­a­tions where there’s no Web access, as opposed to mature the­aters such as Iraq and Afghanistan and in high­ly tech­nol­o­gized South Korea.

“If I have a sys­tem that is sole­ly Web-based and that’s the only way you can use it, it does me no good in a devel­op­ing the­ater of war,” Peck said.

MC4 can run on stand­alone servers, cap­tur­ing and stor­ing data until it can be uploaded via the Inter­net.

“So I can set up a hos­pi­tal and oper­ate for six months with­out Inter­net con­nec­tiv­i­ty,” Peck said. “All that care that we are pro­vid­ing on loca­tion is cap­tured.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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