Use Web or smartphones to make even urgent medical care quicker
Story at a Glance
The number of patients using the emergency room for routine medical care has risen 37 percent in the last three years.|
Posted 8/30/2012 Updated 8/30/2012
by Air Force Capt. Keith Billman
8/30/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- You awoke with a scratchy throat, runny nose and aching head.
You try to press on in your day, but quickly decide you need help.
You figured there would be no appointments available for the same day in the clinic, and you didn't know you could email or go on-line to make one, so you went to the emergency department.
Upon arriving, you're evaluated and then transferred to your primary care team ... now your head is really hurting and you're wondering what's going on...why didn't the emergency department see you?
Your day started like dozens of our patients each week.
Up until now, an unexpected medical need was met by coming to the emergency department and waiting to be seen while other patients with more serious conditions were appropriately moved to the head of the line.
The hospital staff decided we could provide services a better way. We are now triaging and then transferring suitable patients out of the emergency department to their primary care teams.
In addition, the Air Force Medical Service has launched multiple resources that make appointment availability easier for our patients. TRICARE On-Line at https://www.tricareonline.com is a service that gives you the opportunity to book an appointment via the Internet.
We have Web-enabled all of our appointments so our patients can access multiple options of days and times based on need.
MiCare is another recently launched application that gives our patients the ability to securely email our central booking personnel and appointment request.
MiCare also offers you the option to ask your provider team questions and request medication refills when it is convenient for you. No more waiting on the phone; you can access the feature from your smartphone on the go and get a reply back later from the health care team, saving a trip to the hospital.
Of course, the central appointment line is always available at 580-2778 or (800) 255-2778.
Our phone lines are old and we know the wait times are long based on the volume they can carry, but we are working on it.
The JBER Hospital and Air Force leadership monitor and manage our patient's needs and severity of illness daily.
The number of patients using the emergency room for routine or basic medical care has risen 37 percent in the last three years.
Every time one of our patients uses the emergency room as their primary place of care, the cost to all American taxpayers goes up and the ability to deliver care to those in greatest need suffers.
The JBER hospital staff wants you to know we are always looking for better ways to deliver care and expand our capabilities, even during our current budget crisis.
We would love to show you how to access appointments on-line or via your smartphone through TRICARE On-line.
You can communicate with your primary care team with your smart phone via MiCare.
You can have your prescription medications mailed to your house and even receive a reminder to renew your meds via Express Scripts.
Soon you will be able to utilize the satellite pharmacy at the joint military mall.
Ask us how and give it a try - then let us know your thoughts and recommendations.
As always, we look forward to providing you and your family the highest quality medical care.