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www.huh?: Web Site Offers Healthy Dose of Information

By Doug Gillert
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 10, 1998 – What are my health care options? What's being done to make sure my medical record is available when I'm deployed? Where can I learn more about breast cancer protection and diagnosis? Whom do I call to get dental care?

If you're the typical service family member, you've probably asked yourself these and other questions. In fact, in survey after survey, you rate personal and family health care as one of the most important quality of life issues. However, you rate DoD health care as one of the most difficult programs to grasp.

Medics haven't ordinarily gone out of their way to make their products and services understandable, but that's changing. People today demand to be informed about their bodies and their health care options. They ask tough questions. Sometimes they know by their appointment date as much or more than their doctors about their particular ailments.

This new fount of health care knowledge came to us courtesy of thousands of self-help and home medicine magazines, books, tapes and television shows we've grown up with. Of late, it also comes to us via the Internet. Use any search engine on the World Wide Web (AltaVista and Yahoo! are two), type in a topic such as "cancer" or "heart," and you'll get an index of sometimes hundreds of Web sites related in some way deal to the topic.

The point is, you don't have to be in the dark about your or your family's health. And when you do need medical care, you can supplement what your physician says with published information, particularly by recognized authorities such as the National Heart Association or National Cancer Society.

If you rely on the military for your health care, you should make a Web browser bookmark for the Military Health System at http://www.ha.osd.mil. There, you'll find news about the latest defense health care programs, including benefits changes, research initiatives, patient information and information primarily intended for health care providers but valuable to patients in better understanding how military health care works.

Under this Web site you'll find an entire department dedicated to TRICARE medical and dental programs. The "Tools and Resources" section at http://www.ha.osd.mil/tricare/beneficiary/tools.html includes:

  • TRICARE Handbook (everything you need to know to use TRICARE).
  • Directories of TRICARE offices and participating physicians and dentists.
  • Forms and instructions for completing and filing claims.
  • How to notify DoD when you move.
  • Answers to hundreds of frequently asked questions about TRICARE.
  • A glossary of TRICARE terms.##

This and more information vital to your personal health care knowledge is a mouse click away. The plum of health care information available on the Internet could be the best prescription for personal well-being since your mother prescribed an apple a day.

Questions or comments? E-mail djgille@hq.afis.osd.mil.

NOTE: Joint Ethics Regulation (DoD 550.7-R, section 2-301) spells out legal and illegal use of federal communications resources while on the job. In general, the restrictions that guide office telephone use also govern Internet use. See your supervisor or local computer policy experts for details.

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