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Kiosks Planned to Relieve TRICARE Confusion

By Douglas J. Gillert
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 1996 – Confused about TRICARE? Don't know where to sign up for DoD's managed health care program? Concerned about the cost -- and whom to ask?

A computerized, interactive kiosk soon will provide answers to these and other TRICARE questions at the touch of a finger. The TRICARE Marketing Office, in conjunction with the Office of CHAMPUS, developed software for the kiosks. Officials expect a prototype no later than March 1997.

"We foresee the kiosks using touch-screen technology and having the capability to print answers to users' questions," said Air Force Maj. William Slauson, assistant director of TRICARE marketing. "Our hope is that each DoD health care organization will purchase at least one unit."

The kiosks will address the questions of active duty service members and their families as well as retirees and their families, Slauson added. In addition to providing specific information about various aspects of TRICARE, the kiosks will include answers to a list of frequently asked questions compiled from TRICARE service centers in the field. The touch-screen also will prompt users to answer a short survey questionnaire about their health care.

"Eventually, the kiosks could include much more in-depth information about TRICARE and general health care," Slauson said, "by incorporating CD-ROM technology or connecting them to an on-line network."

Slauson said the kiosks are ideal for hospital and clinic lobbies and other community areas on military installations. He said the units will cost $7,000-$10,000 each. The price will include a maintenance agreement.

"We asked the services if they had anything like this already, and they said 'no.' Everyone we talked to said the kiosks will be a big help in keeping beneficiaries informed about TRICARE."

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