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March 16, 2007                                                   

SIU Med School Moves Ahead with Conversion to Electronic Health Records

Patients are beginning to experience the changeover to an electronic health record (EHR) this month at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.  The system for its physician practice is now being used at one of its clinical sites in Springfield, SIU’s Center for Family Medicine, located at 4th and Carpenter Streets.  The EHR system allows for the capturing of all medical record information for patients at SIU’s clinical sites.

“This new electronic system will benefit our patients, physicians and staff as well as the medical students and residents that we train at SIU,” said Dr. Richard Embrey, medical director for SIU Physicians & Surgeons (P&S) and associate professor of surgery.  “Electronic health records are becoming the standard of care, so this conversion will help us become more service oriented, improving interaction with our patients, as well as provide better efficiencies for SIU’s growing academic medical practice.”

The new system provides automatic interface between appointment scheduling, billing and dictation systems, laboratories, radiology reports and demographic information.  The conversion continues for the rest of SIU’s seven clinical departments.  The next departments scheduled are SIU Family Medicine in Decatur in April and pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and general internal medicine later this summer, with all Decatur and Springfield sites converted by February 2009.

The new SIU EHR system will be designed to interface with EHR systems at its two affiliated hospitals, Memorial Medical Center and St. John’s Hospital.
A 20-person SIU team, led by David Tkach, CEO for SIU P&S, and Sandy Walters, chief information officer for P&S, selected the GE Centricity product last year and continue overseeing the project.  SIU has purchased new hardware, including computers for 375 exam areas.  The seven-year GE Healthcare contract is $1.18 million.

SIU clinics had nearly 340,000 patient visits in the last fiscal year (FY06) with more than 112,000 unduplicated patients served at its primary clinical sites in Springfield, Carbondale, Decatur and Quincy.  SIU P&S has 206 physician members.

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thern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs News Releases P.O. Box 19621, Springfield IL 62794-9621, 217-545-2155