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MHS Beneficiaries Turn to Online Resources to Manage Personal Care During Pandemic

Image of Man sitting in front of laptop. Click to open a larger version of the image. Military Health System beneficiaries turn to online resources like the TRICARE Online Patient Portal (TOL PP) and MHS GENESIS Patient Portal to virtually manage their health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The TOL PP logged a record one million active users in May. (Courtesy Photo)

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Military Health System beneficiaries turned to online resources like the TRICARE Online Patient Portal (TOL) and the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal in record numbers in May to remotely manage their health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TOL PP logged a million-plus active users on May 17, the largest total in the portal’s 15-year history. 

“This is a remarkable achievement,” said Army Col. Francisco Dominicci, chief of the Defense Health Agency Solution Delivery Division (SDD, J-6), which manages the TOL PP. “The TOL PP team achieved this milestone by quickly responding to patient and provider needs during the pandemic.”

Dominicci stated that, the TOL PP team added several COVID-19-related enhancements to the portal, enabling beneficiaries to manage their care remotely rather than risking exposure to themselves and others by visiting military medical treatment facilities. 

In March, the team set up a COVID-19 Virtual Visit functionality within TOL PP that allows patients who believe they are infected with COVID-19 to book virtual visit appointments. Inside the portal, patients provide a phone number and answer two screening questions before being allowed to make a COVID-19 virtual visit appointment. The application facilitated more than 15,000 virtual visit appointments through May.

“The short screening process allows us to quickly assess whether patients have COVID-19 symptoms or some other ailment,” said Dominicci. “If they don’t have COVID-19 symptoms, they are told so, giving them reassurance. If they do have COVID-19 symptoms, they can make a virtual visit appointment, and a health care provider will contact them at the number they provided.”

In April, the TOL PP team updated the portal to provide patients expedited COVID-19 and flu test results after the DHA waived the mandatory four-day wait period for the test results. The functionality allowed patients tested for COVID-19 or the flu at MTFs to receive expedited test results in the blue “Health Record” section of the portal after results are certified.

“Using the TOL PP relieves the anxiety of patients waiting for test results, letting them know if they need to self-isolate,” said Dominicci. “It also frees MTF providers from having to field patient calls or contact patients awaiting test results, allowing them to focus on patient care during the pandemic.”

Dominicci explained how patients can also find links to COVID-19 updates and resources on TOL PP along with other helpful features. 

“Patients can use TOL PP to virtually manage most of their health care needs without placing themselves and others at risk of infection,” he said. “They can use the portal to request prescription refills and TOL Secure Messaging for prescription renewal requests. Patients can also request prescription refills and renewals be sent to the TRICARE Home Delivery or a nearby in-network pharmacy.

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