Air Force completes rollout of medical messaging system

The Air Force earlier this month completed rollout of MilCare, its secure, confidential health care messaging system, to all 76 of its medical treatment facilities around the world.

Some 360,000 enrolled Air Force beneficiaries can now consult with about 2,300 providers on non-emergency matters, view their health care records, make appointments and fill prescriptions. Providers also can use MiCare to deliver preventive care updates to patients, the Air Force said.

The MiCare portal debuted in February 2012 at five bases and the Air Force has been gradually implementing it at bases since. The system cuts down on the number of phone calls (and waiting in phone trees) and the number of visits to treatment facilities. As well, it gives airmen and their families access to written advice, medical test results, prescription renewals and other services regardless of their location, the Air Force said.

Users must register in person and obtain a user name and password to use the system. And the Air Force says its uses several layers of security, including a secure browser connection, to ensure protection of personal information and medical records. MiCare complies with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Air Force said.

Other services have implemented similar systems. The Army’s and Navy’s systems, which both use the commercial RelayHealth secure messaging management system, have enrolled about 523,000 users combined, bringing the military-wide number to 850,000 users through all services, with access to 7,600 providers and more than 17,500 primary care team members using the systems.

Across the Defense Department, just over 50 percent of eligible users have enrolled in one of the health care messaging programs, the Air Force said.

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