Navy health portal hits next phase

NMO

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Naval Medicine Online (NMO) has passed its first test and will be recognized as an official program of record.

NMO began as a portal that lets Navy medical personnel control some of the routine tasks associated with medicine, such as administration, finance, ordering, processing and tracking, according to Lt. Cmdr. Michael Whitecar, director and program manager for NMO. That pilot was purely for the Navy's 44,000 medical personnel.

Next month, Navy Medicine will start testing for its second major constituency — sailors — in a trial aboard several ships based in San Diego. It will later be rolled out for family members' use.

The Navy will use the system to determine operational readiness of a specific command, group or ship, according to Advanced Technology Systems Inc., the lead vendor on the NMO contract.

Ultimately, the new portal is supposed to be used not only by Navy personnel, but also dependents and family members of Navy warfighters, Whitecar said.

The portal is designed to work seamlessly with Navy Knowledge Online, the Navy's enterprise training portal, and TRICARE Online, a Defense Department portal that caters to patients.

NMO will differ from, but work with, TRICARE Online, according to Whitecar. Service members, their families, reservists and retirees use TRICARE to make appointments, create a personal health manager, fill out claim forms, renew prescriptions and enrollments, and communicate electronically with health care providers. Navy members can make appointments through the Naval Medicine portal, but that application actually resides with TRICARE.

"We don't want people to have to go to Navy Knowledge for one part of their medical care and TRICARE for another," he said. "Now they can go to any of the three and they'll be transparently linked together for medical care."

The Navy Medicine Web site will be taken down and replaced by NMO, Whitecar said. Navy Medicine last month received about 7 million hits.

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