MiCare increases provider, patient interaction

(Via Ho’okele News)

The 15th Medical Group at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam launched MiCare, the online secure messaging service, in September 2013. Though the program is currently thriving, the 15th Medical Group continues to encourage patients to sign-up and take advantage of the new system, which is giving patients more control over their medical care.

“MiCare gives patients a secure means to access their healthcare team via the Internet,” said Capt. Scott Cook, 15th Medical Group MiCare lead. “It can save the beneficiary time by not having them come into the clinic for something simple like requesting prescription refills or test results. It also allows them to ask their healthcare team medical questions through a secure electronic message without an appointment.”

Additionally, after patients are registered, the Air Force-wide service will follow them wherever the Air Force takes them, so they will never have to sign-up again.

Cook said MiCare was created to give patients increased access to medical care as well as align the Air Force Medical Service with the secure messaging trend in civilian healthcare facilities. Patients using MiCare are able to contact their healthcare team directly.

“It eliminates ‘phone tag’ with our medical staff,” he said. “MiCare has been shown to reduce the number of phone calls between patients and providers, which increases patient satisfaction and saves time for both the patients and the MDG staff.”

Currently, about 30 percent of 15th Medical Group beneficiaries are using MiCare, but Cook said he expects that to increase as patients find out how easy and convenient it is to use the system.

Senior Airman Sharlene Kelm, 15th Wing knowledge operations management office, said she has used MiCare a few times since it came online and would recommend it for anyone looking to skip the middle man and go directly to their healthcare team.

“The system is definitely easy to use and navigate,” she said. “I used it for lab results, but I know that you can also use it to make appointments and send e-mails directly to your doctor, and I would think using MiCare would be much better than waiting around on the phone to schedule an appointment.”

Kelm said she heard from her doctor within 24 hours on an initial result request via MiCare.

‘Of course the success of the program really depends on how fast they are able to get back to you, but not having to go back in or make tons of phone calls to get my lab results was really convenient,” Kelm said.

Sign-up for MiCare is ongoing, and the 15th Medical Group plans to enroll as many patients as possible into the system and begin using secure messaging as the primary form of communication between patients and their healthcare teams.

To register, patients should visit the 15th Medical Group to initiate the face-to-face registration process. Patients will need to show their military identification card and provide basic information such as name, social security number, birthday and email address. An email will be sent for patients to finish enrollment and begin confidential messaging with their healthcare team. For more information, visit http://www.afms.af.mil/micare.

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