Lt. Col. Edward Clayson: Leading by leaving nothing to chance

The Army’s Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) Product Management Office has fielded more than 16,000 handheld, laptop and desktop computers to combat medical units in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s a large amount of hardware. But Lt. Col. Edward Clayson, MC4 product manager, said the unit’s most important products are its personnel who provide user support.

That support starts in Kuwait with predeployment training on MC4 systems, but it does not end there. More than 30 MC4 trainers provide what Clayson called “over the shoulder support” for medical units in combat areas.

The training program includes extensive work with medical unit commanders and their staff members to make sure they understand the system and establish firm business practices to make the system work best for them, Clayson said. MC4 trainers reinforce standard medical recording practices in combat medical units operating in Southwest Asia. MC4 systems have captured more than 1 million electronic health records in the field.

User support includes the pre-positioning of replacement systems and spare parts in the theater and the posting of MC4 system administrators with deployed medical units. Pre-positioned systems and parts and the forward deployment of systems administrators reduce MC4 systems’ downtime, Clayson said.

Clayson spent months in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Qatar to show his commitment to MC4’s field users and recognize the work of training and support personnel who work beside field medics. He picked up valuable feedback on the trips, he said.

Lee Harvey, deputy program executive officer for Army Enterprise Information Systems, said his office is extremely proud of Clayson and MC4’s battlefield service. That service yields firsthand insights into the likes and dislikes of medics and doctors, which the command uses to improve its systems.

Harvey said MC4 systems are a prime example of how the Army is using information technology to improve battlefield medicine. The systems mark the first time the service has created electronic health records in a combat environment, he added. Clayson said people are the reason for MC4’s success. When he took command of MC4, he said, “I reinforced the idea that the most valuable product that MC4 could offer was not the software, which was good, but not great. It was not the hardware, which is state of the art, but the support we provide to the customer.

“By maintaining this philosophy, we’re taking advantage of our greatest strength: our people.”

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