When It’s Time for a New EHR: The Cooper Clinic Story

Cooper Clinic in Dallas is uniquely focused on providing preventive medicine services. But its need for tight integration between its EHR and practice management system is just like 30 to 50 percent of U.S. healthcare facilities now shopping to replace an ambulatory EHR, according to a KLAS survey. After a lot of due diligence, they have found an integrated technology that works well in Greenway’s PrimeSUITE.

Defining needs

Cooper Clinic’s 11 preventive medicine physicians and 9 specialists provide patients with an in-depth picture of their health, an action plan to improve it and their test results—all in less than a day. The scope of services include: general preventive care, extensive labwork, breast health, cardiology, preventive and cosmetic dermatology, 24/7 direct medicine, gastroenterology, imaging and a range of nutrition and exercise consultation services. All of those need to be managed and billed efficiently. Thus, a disparate EHR and practice management system weren’t working. “With our previous EHR vendor, we experienced a gradual decline in system support, lack of communication and integration between our charts and practice management system, as well as overall frustration with lack of functionality. These concerns were integral in compelling us to search for a new EHR company,” says COO Michele A. Kettles, MD, MSPH.

The Clinic began the search for an integrated EMR-practice management technology about 18 months ago. Leadership put together a wish list that included ease of use, equipment interfacing and a vendor with whom they could partner for the long term, according to Kettles. They also needed to easily share data with the affiliated Cooper Institute that publishes wellness research. The Clinic cast a wide net, assessing the products of about a hundred vendors. “Only Greenway took a huge interest in the research angle. Their eyes lit up,” Kettles says.

One system, two missions

The team at Cooper took part in five or six onsite product demonstrations, with Greenway moving to the top of the list. “From the start, it was obvious the [system] was very customizable to our specialty needs and research interface,” Kettles says. “It was a single system with interoperability for both functions and their [KLAS] customer service rankings were consistently high which is what started us down the [replacement] path to begin with. And in the contracting phase, they emerged as the right choice with straightforward, simple descriptions of exactly what we were getting and in pricing.”

The PrimeSUITE system links the business and clinical worlds at Cooper. Billing slips are a thing of the past, with the system linking orders to bills for tests such as lung function and CT calcium scoring. Via a custom interface, the diagnostic systems and IT system will link directly with medical equipment, PACS/RIS, Orchard/LIS and HL7 pathology services. This will eliminate laborious tasks such as scanning dermatology photos which are now incorporated as images within the EHR. It also will directly interface EKGs for easier review and management.

The group also will use the PrimePATIENT secure patient EHR/EMR web portal that enables patients to schedule appointments, preregister, request prescription refills, pay bills and access their own personal health record from virtually any location. Down the road, the Clinic plans to add PrimeSPEECH transcription to drive transcription to the point of care.

 “When we went into this process, we were looking for a product to purchase,” Kettles says. “But going down the path, we found a partner to help us improve the way we practice and help us to innovate for the future.”