News Center

Friday, February 18, 2011

New St. Francis Health on line records system bolsters patient/physician communication

INDIANAPOLIS – Reaching your doctor’s office when you need it can be a challenge: Office hours don’t always coincide with your free moments; phone calls may have to be returned.

Imagine connecting with your physician’s office with a click of a button, submitting medication refill requests, appointment time requests, even non-emergency questions.

That’s the reality of a new service being offered to primary-care patients through the St. Francis Medical Group. More than 15 practices will soon offer new information technology that will streamline patient care and administrative services.

Called MyChart, the web-based system allows patients and physician office staff and physicians to send messages online and read records of past medications, office visits, immunizations and more. MyChart, part of a fully integrated suite of applications for electronic medical records (EMRs) developed by Wisconsin-based Epic, debuted at two St. Francis Medical Group practices last fall and implemented to other medical group practices beginning next month.

“As a working parent, it’s tough to squeeze in calls to my pediatrician’s office around meetings,” said one mother, who now can message her pediatrician’s office from her office computer. “MyChart was easy to use, and I got a response quickly without worrying about missing a phone call. Better yet, I was assured this access was secure and the information remained confidential.”

Physicians have also noted the ease in communicating with their patients.

"We have used Epic electronic medical records and MyChart in our office for several months, and it has made it easier to stay in contact with our patients," said Joe Johnston, M.D., South 31 Family Care and a physician champion for the transition to electronic medical records. "Being on an electronic system has helped me, my physician colleagues and our nurses to share information, track trends in a patient’s health history, receive alerts on best practices and reminders for diabetes, women's health or well-child visits."

The transition to the Epic electronic medical record system is part of a corporate-wide transition to integrated electronic medical records for the Franciscan Alliance, a network of 13 hospital systems in Indiana and Illinois. Franciscan St. Francis Health, which will begin using the system on Feb. 26, will be the first hospital in the system to use Epic. With an estimated cost of more than $100 million, the corporate-wide initiative is being partially funded through the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Health care in the United States is rapidly changing to a system where care providers will be required to produce much higher quality outcomes using fewer resources, and where collaboration is vital in providing top-notch, efficient patient services,” said Keith Jewell, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Franciscan St. Francis Health.

To learn more about MyChart, visit and click on the “MyChart” button. To learn more about the St. Francis Health transition to Epic electronic medical records and what it means for patient care, visit