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The Army's Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) organization is getting ready for the day when mobile devices such as smartphones may be fielded to soldiers.
MC4 is preparing for the eventuality that remote, computerized training modules could be loaded on iPads, iPhones and Android-based devices. Beyond that, electronic medical record applications could also make their way to the handheld gadgets.
"There is no plan to field these devices now," said Lt. Col. William Geesey, MC4's product manager, in an exclusive interview with Government Health IT, "but that is what R&D is all about. We are trying to understand what we can do with things that are coming down the road."
MC4 already sponsors an extensive program of distributed training and distance learning.
"In the past, instruction has been limited to computer based training and classroom instruction," said Geesey. "One of the challenges is to reach soldiers at times that are convenient to them. We have begun to place all of our training products on different Army online learning centers so that they are available for soldiers to access remotely."
These distributed training products allows squad leaders, for example, to assign medics to take a specific online course and to track their progress.
The ability to download the training modules on smartphones would provide an additional level of convenience, Geesey said.
"We could get to the soldier stationed in Afghanistan, or wherever he may be," he added.
MC4 is working with the Apps to Go program of the Army's Combined Arms Center in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on running the training products on the handheld devices.
MC4 is also working do the same for the military's tactical EMR applications, such as AHLTA-T, the U.S. military's electronic health record that is used in theater, and the Field Medical Card, an electronic record generated at the point of injury.