H. Thomas Johnson, M.D., explores the new electronic health record system.By 2014, all major healthcare providers who participate in Medicare must adopt an electronic health record as mandated by the federal government. Project ARK  (Automated Record Keeping) is SLUCare's name for implementing an electronic health record - the creation of a computerized single electronic health record for each of our patients.

What will the electronic health record include?
This record will include lab, radiology and other diagnostic reports, medication orders and billing records, as well as a comprehensive, up-to-date view of your health and health care.

Who will be affected by Project ARK?
Every patient seen by a SLUCare provider will have his or her paper medical chart transferred to a secure electronic health record. You will see new computers in our exam rooms, which will help provide more efficient office visits with your provider.

How will Project ARK benefit me?
Project ARK provides a single electronic health record for each of our patients. An electronic health record will be beneficial in several ways:

  • Accessible, Current and Complete - Your electronic health record will be available wherever you are seen in the SLUCare system. SLUCare providers have the same real-time information to help us respond more quickly to your health care needs and concerns. A complete view of your health history allows us to make the best possible decisions about your health care quickly and efficiently.
  • Safety and Security - Your electronic health record will always be complete and legible. All treatment plans are entered directly into the electronic health record, eliminating the need for paper notes or verbal orders. All electronic records are contained on a secure Web server, ensuring privacy while allowing appropriate SLUCare personnel access to the information necessary to provide the best possible care to our patients.
  • Patient Participation - Through SLUCare MyChart, you will have the ability to actively participate in your health care. You will be able to schedule appointments, request prescription refills, view lab results and e-mail questions to your providers - all online.

What other benefits are there to using an electronic health record system?
Because information is entered and stored electronically, the process is virtually paper-free. Patient accounting is easy and efficient with less paperwork for doctors and patients alike. Not only will that save time, but, as an environmentally friendly system, it will also save trees and reduce waste.

When will my health records be electronic?
Project ARK is scheduled to go live over three years, beginning in the summer of 2008. If you are seen by more than one SLUCare provider, there may be times when a paper record is still used by providers who have yet to go live. Once you have been seen by a physician who has gone live, your other providers will be able to view your electronic health record, but will not be able to enter information until they have also gone live. At the time a provider is making the transition to the electronic health record, every effort will be made to schedule patients in a way to maximize your visit while we are learning the new system. We thank you for your patience and for helping us learn how to better serve you. 

 Clinical departments that have already implemented the electronic health record include:

  • Family and Community Medicine (July 2008)
  • General Internal Medicine (August 2008)
  • Geriatric Medicine (November 2008)
  • Family Medicine DOB (March 2009)
  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health (August 2009)
  • Endocrinology (December 2009)
  • Infectious Diseases (February 2010)
  • Psychiatry (June 2010)
  • Neurology (August 2010)
  • Cardiology (September 2010)

The remaining SLUCare clinical departments will implement the EHR on the following timetable, subject to change:

July 2010 - June 2011

  • Dermatology
  • Pulmonology
  • Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
  • Trauma and General Surgery
  • Urology

July 2011 - June 2012

  • Ophthalmology
  • Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Allergy and Clinical Immunology
  • Rheumatology
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Saint Louis University Cancer Center

July 2012 - June 2013

  • Pain Management Program
  • Sleep Disorders Center
  • Student Health
  • Family and Community Medicine (Washington, Mo.)
  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology
  • Transplant Surgery
  • Nephrology
  • Orthopaedic Surgery