FALLS CHURCH, Va., April 22, 2011 -- New TRICARE Online features give users access to expanded personal health data, including lab results, patient history and diagnoses, and provider visits.

The military health plan's new online features expand the website's "Blue Button" capability, which already allowed beneficiaries to safely and securely access and print or save their demographic information, allergy and medication profiles, officials said.

The level of data available depends on where treatment occurs, officials said, with the most data available to those who regularly get care at military hospitals and clinics.

"These new capabilities are a major step forward in engaging military health system patients as partners in their own health care," said Navy Rear Adm. (Dr.) Christine Hunter, TRICARE Management Activity deputy director. "Personal electronic health records can also improve care by conveying accurate patient information between providers, avoiding duplication of tests and reducing delays in treatment."

The Blue Button was fielded by TRICARE and was made generally available by other federal health care providers last year. With more than 250,000 users, officials said, it is the result of a close inter-agency partnership among the Defense and Veterans Affairs, or VA, departments and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"The Blue Button efforts are just another example of how DoD and VA are working together to shape the future of health care [information technology] collaboration, interoperability and transparency for the patients and families we serve," said Dr. George Peach Taylor Jr., acting principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. "We could not have accomplished this without the continuing strong collaboration between DoD and the VA."

TRICARE Online is the Military Health System's Internet point of entry, giving the health plan's 9.6 million beneficiaries access to available health care services and information through a secure portal. Users who receive their care at a military treatment facility can schedule appointments, order prescription refills and view their personal health data.

Other users with active prescriptions at a military pharmacy also can request a refill for those prescriptions.