General Dynamics MC4 Case Study


Project Background and Objectives
In 1997, the President and Congress set forth objectives in Title 10 calling for a medical tracking system for all deployed service members. The development of Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) in 1999 provided the Army’s solution to this directive.

Capturing Service members’ medical records is an age-old problem. Prior methods included handwritten reports and piles of papers that would rarely find their way home with a Service member. As a result, those injured on the battlefield had little-to-no proof of injuries to share with the Veterans Administration, making it difficult to obtain proper medical benefits. Prior to MC4, deployed medical professionals often found that documenting and accessing Service member’s prior treatments was virtually impossible. Additionally, tactical commanders spent weeks to obtain a full picture of the medical situation on the battlefield in order to mobilize medical assets most efficiently.

Contract Work and Scope
MC4 integrates, fields and supports a comprehensive medical information system, enabling lifelong electronic medical records, streamlined medical logistics and enhanced situational awareness for Army tactical forces.

Through cooperation between industry partners and the Army Medical Department, the team created a cohesive, flexible system to deliver to its users. MC4 continually evaluates, tests and integrates joint software into various hardware products to ensure the system meets requirements. In addition, the team provides classroom and hands-on training to thousands of medical professionals each year prior to their deployment. MC4 also follows units into the battlefield, providing onsite support and refresher training to ensure users utilize the system and its capabilities to the maximum extent possible. MC4 reinforces its commitment to deployed units with a three-tiered, 24/7 worldwide sustainment and technical support structure.

General Dynamics Information Technology provides support to any and all phases of the pre-deployment, deployment, on-site and re-deployment process to support MC4 system activities for worldwide contingency operations. Specifically, General Dynamics provides in-theater MC4 system administration operations, help desk support operations, warranty support and in-theater fielding and training in support of contingency operations. In addition, General Dynamics provides support services for MC4 development, acquisition and sustainment initiatives.

The use of commercial technology in MC4 ensures that deployable medical professionals receive cutting-edge technologies and enables users to quickly acclimate to using MC4 systems, further reducing users’ learning curves in the combat zone. The data generated by the MC4 system is sent to higher levels of care, joint medical surveillance and data systems worldwide. By using emerging technologies and software used by all military Services ensures each stakeholder is equipped with top-notch system capabilities that transcend military stovepipe systems.

MC4 has reshaped the tactical information management/information technology enterprise by paving the way to a paper-free, deployed medical environment. The original schedule called for the deployment of 200 information management/information technology systems by 2006. However, the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom accelerated the Army’s timeline and required the delivery of a usable system well ahead of schedule. Since 2003, the program has fielded more than 44,000 systems to more than 250 deployed medical forces, and trained more than 53,000 medical providers to record, share and access patients’ medical records and facilitate medical logistical support. During that same time, MC4 has enabled the transfer of more than 15 million electronic health records through its system to a centralized data repository. This provides medical staff at all levels with the most current and accurate information for use in patient treatment. For the first time, all medical personnel have immediate access to data conveying exactly what treatment was administered to a Service member while in the field. This prevents missing or repeated diagnoses, duplicate tests and redundant treatments. Additionally, the system provides medical professionals with automated tools to restock their medical supplies with the touch of a button, eliminating fax and fulfillment challenges and ensuring necessary medical supplies are always on hand.

The MC4 system also provides enhanced medical situational awareness for combatant commanders. Never before have commanders worldwide had access to near real-time data that provided a decisive advantage in mobilizing troops according to medical trends in the battlefield. With MC4 in hand, combatant commanders have had near-instant access to theater-wide medical surveillance, trend analysis and enhanced medical situational awareness.

Most importantly, deployed Service members gain peace of mind knowing they are treated by better-informed healthcare providers and will gain easier access to medical benefits.

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