Project leader gets firsthand experience

Project leaders often speak of 'eating your own dog food.' It's a crude way of saying your organization actually uses the same products and technology solutions it sells to others. Only by doing so, they feel, can you get a good idea of how well you're satisfying your actual customers.

The program manager of the TED project, Lt. Col. Robert Aarhus, can relate to this. His group is responsible for processing the claims of the TRICARE medical plan for DOD personnel, retirees and family members. Aarhus is himself a military officer, and his family relies on TRICARE-provided health care. How does he find using the system?

'All of our health care is done by TRICARE,' he said. What impresses him most is that there is no paperwork involved, whether at the usual Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) or other locations. 'We never have to fill out a form,' he said. He and his family simply use their ID cards to authenticate themselves to the staff, and the provider handles the rest.

This kind of patient care is possible because of the all-electronic TED claims processing. Unlike the former paper-based system, all records are digital in industry standard formats. Not only does this simplify things for patients, but it speeds processing and payment for providers.

'It's totally transparent to the user,' Aarhus said. And you don't have to be a program manager to merit such treatment: All the 9.2 million TRICARE beneficiaries get the same care.

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