The Army’s network modernization efforts are helping the medical community provide better care to wounded soldiers in medical evacuations on the battlefield.

The golden hour, the first 60 minutes after a battlefield wound, is considered the most critical period for soldiers. To maximize that time, a new effort is automating the transmission of medical information of soldiers en route to the hospital. This program, known as Medical Hands-Free Unified Broadcast (MEDHUB), will allow doctors in the operating rooms to be better prepared for the patients coming in.

In many cases, when a medevac crew arrives, they discover more casualties than previously reported and the only way to communicate back to the hospital was a single channel radio.

Officials at Fort Detrick told C4ISRNET that this kind of voice transmission is not the best way to communicate. For one, the hospital staff might not accurately write down the message and two, the medic in the vehicle is on the radio and not treating patients. Together, this means the hospital might not be prepared for the increased number of patients.

To solve this problem, MEDHUB automates the process by which patients’ vitals are transmitted to the hospital. This, in turn, allows the hospital staff to have a better count of wounded soldiers coming in, which makes them better prepared for triage.

The system works by transmitting data over the blue force tracker network using existing programs and equipment. It relies on NetWarrior devices and software that is used now to provide battlefield situational awareness. The system is connected to multiple wireless patient monitors housed in the medevac vehicle — either a helicopter or a ground vehicle — and sends the patient’s condition, injury and vitals every two minutes.

Additionally, MEDHUB is designed so that if certain conditions are met — such as a certain percentage increase in blood pressure — it will immediately transmit that data back to the hospital. By automating this process, medics don’t have to log injuries and vitals by hand. In the fog of war, injuries haven’t always been logged as accurately as they could be when transporting patients, officials said.

For hospital staff, they can now take advantage of a dashboard, a repurposed artillery system running on Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS), where the new patient information is sent.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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