Health & Safety

June 28, 2012

PCMH strides toward more efficient care

2nd Lt Sarah Ruckriegle
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 355th Medical Group is continuing to achieve accessible quality health care through the phone appointment line and TriCare Online, both initiatives of Patient Centered Medical Home.

“We are working very hard with the Air Force Medical Operations Agency to get initiatives online to give our patients better accessibility to the medical team,” said Tech. Sgt. Diana Habel, 355th MDG practice manager. “Patient Centered Medical Home is designed so that we can have more continuity and resiliency with our patients. It provides the feeling that our patients are as much a team member and involved with their health care as their doctor, nurse, and technicians.”

To schedule a medical appointment patients have two options. They can either dial the appointment line at 228-2778 or visit TriCare Online at www.tricareonline.com. The phone line is available every Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. for active duty only and 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for all beneficiaries. TriCare Online is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Our patients who utilize TriCare Online love it. It allows our patients to know who their doctor is, check their health information like recent Labs and Medications, book and cancel appointments, and it now allows our patients sign up for appointment reminders by text message or email online,” said Habel. “This tool helps us to keep our patients with the same provider every time they are seen, increasing the ease of access into our facility. We do have doctors who get deployed or other situations that may take them out of the clinic but even then, we try our best to have a steady ‘substitute’ provider during their normal provider’s absence.” In the last six months the number of patients enrolled with TriCare Online has nearly doubled from 3,000 to 5,800.

Calling the appointment line allows patients to attain general clinic information or be directly connected to schedule appointments with the clinic where they require service. Due to budget cuts, manning for the appointment line has decreased by half leaving patients to wait on the phone. The Medical Group is in the process of revamping the telephone options for easier use by the end of July; online is still the quickest way to get an appointment. Utilizing Tricare Online, patients can download and print medical information like Lab results for referral providers, schedule appointments for themselves and their family members, refill prescriptions, and sign-up for appointment text message or email reminders.

“Another feature of TriCare Online that we are rolling out this fall is secure messaging. This will enable our patients to send and receive secure messages to and from their Family Health Team,” said Habel. “Our facility here should have this feature by Fall and our patients can keep tabs on this and other important messages from the Medical Clinic by looking us up and following us on Facebook at AFMS – 355th Medical Group, Davis-Monthan AFB.”

For more information about TriCare online, please visit www.tricareonline.com or contact Tech. Sgt. Habel at 228-2730.




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