St. Luke’s University Health Network: Strategic Use of Health Information Technology

St. Luke’s University Health Network: Strategic Use of Health Information Technology

Susan A. Sherer (Lehigh University, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/jcit.2012040101


The VP and CIO of St. Luke’s University Health Network wants to ensure that IT is a partner with the business in enabling new health care delivery models while controlling rapidly increasing costs. They face the challenge of maintaining existing resources while keeping up with rapid advances in information technology that provide opportunities to transform health care delivery. The VP/CIO wants to insure that new applications are in line with the strategic objectives of the health network. Instituting appropriate project management and governance strategies are critical to achieving this goal as is educating the business users on the role of information systems in health care today.
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Organizational Background

St. Luke’s University Health Network is a regional network of hospitals, physicians and other related organizations providing health care in eight counties in eastern Pennsylvania and one county in western New Jersey. It was originally founded in 1872 to care for the workers at the steel foundries in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The network today is comprised of:

  • Five hospitals,

  • Visiting Nurses Association,

  • Hospice (inpatient and outpatient),

  • Retail Pharmacy,

  • Outpatient clinics (more than 150),

  • Physician ambulatory practice sites (more than 80),

  • Nursing school,

  • Medical school (in collaboration with Temple University School of Medicine).

More detail about these facilities is listed in Appendix A. The network changed its name from St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network in February 2012 to reflect its emphasis on educating new health professionals. The medical school began training its first group of students in 2011 and is the first and only regional medical school campus in the Lehigh Valley. The network recently also opened its newest hospital, a 256,000 square foot, full service medical facility on November 14, 2011.

The network annually handles more than 42,000 admissions and 150,000 emergency room visits. The region’s second largest employer, St Luke’s employs more than 7000 people, with 1200 volunteers and 1200 physicians on the medical staff. The network is dedicated to providing patients and visitors with excellent quality clinical care delivered with outstanding customer service. Appendix B summarizes their strategic focus which has five key elements: people and relationships, simplicity, integrity, quality, and cost. They have received several recent recognitions including top 50 cardio hospital from Thomson Reuters and Pennsylvania Commission on Cancer Outstanding Achievement Award.

Appendix C (Figure 1) shows their organization structure.

Figure 1.

St. Luke’s network organization chart (Source: Tanya Markovich)

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