The Center for Specialized Medicine (CSM) at the new SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital is just days away from reaching its first anniversary. Although the milestone has been achieved quietly due to pandemic concerns, clinicians and staff are very excited. They want members of the public to know about the convenient care available at the outpatient center, which houses SLUCare Physician Group primary care and specialist offices.

SLUCare ophthalmologist Dr. Oscar Cruz, head of the ophthalmology department at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, says his team members at the CSM’s Sight & Sound Center are thrilled to welcome patients to the new space. “One of the best things about receiving care there is the purposeful connectedness of both the physical facilities and the professionals who work there,” he says. “Many people come in with more than one health issue, and it’s easier for them to be seen at one site. For example, many of our patients who need glasses also need hearing aids, so they can make appointments for both in one day. Or, we might see an eye patient with diabetic retinopathy, and he likely can see his endocrinologist the same day, just 100 feet away. This is especially useful for patients who live outside St. Louis. SLUCare practitioners all work together to provide a high level of care in a convenient environment.”

Cruz says having the full resources of the hospital and other departments in one place also increases patient compliance with care plans, and that leads to better health results. “We have found that patients are more likely to follow treatment guidelines and physician instructions if they don’t have to leave the building, drive off-site, find parking and visit a different office for another procedure or treatment,” he says. “When they have to go to multiple locations, it leads to confusion and time constraints, and continuity of care is lost.”

Kim Watts, director of clinic operations for SLUCare Physician Group, says the CSM also is implementing new technologies and processes that support a high level of care. “We are using Odoro, an online patient engagement system that saves time and improves the flow of office visits,” she says. “People can check in at a kiosk at the center, or they can do it from a smartphone before they arrive. This increases practice efficiency and safety so providers can focus more of their time on patient care.”

Watts adds that the CSM is starting to use the online system to schedule patient appointments as well. “This function is being rolled out by department,” she says. “Using the system to set a visit takes less time than a phone call, and there’s no waiting to call during office hours or being placed on hold. Whether you are a new or established patient, you simply follow the easy-to-use prompts and choose a day and time. You also can schedule your next visit before even leaving the exam room.”

Cruz and Watts add that the CSM is designed to be comfortable with amenities like pleasing indoor spaces and a courtyard for fresh air and relaxation. Patient greeters with tablets can help people navigate their visits, and all staff members are committed to providing a welcoming environment. “Patients tell us that they enjoy seeing their providers here,” Cruz notes. “We all work together, and we are all here to help.”

The Center for Specialized Medicine, which includes the Sight & Sound Center, is celebrating its first anniversary of serving patients in a pleasing and convenient environment at the new SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital in Midtown. For more information, call 314.977.4440 or visit   

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo courtesy of SLUCare Physician Group

Pictured at top: SLUCare providers offer convenient care at the new center.
Photo courtesy of SLUCare Physician Group