Electronic Health Records (EHR) have become a critical resource in healthcare and has implications in everything from predicting health outcomes to fighting the opioid crisis. When providers move to a value-based care model, they are confronted with the large decision of how to set up their EHR. Many IT professionals recommend either maintaining a best-of-breed, multi-vendor system, or a single-vendor approach almost exclusively.

In reality, every practice is unique and should make the decision based on the needs, priorities, and challenges of their specific practice. In order to help you make that decision, here are some factors to keep in mind in regard to both best-of-breed and all-in-one systems.

Best-of-Breed: Uncompromised Quality

The best-of-breed network is the solution for those who do not want to settle. Best-of-breed allows the provider to have the highest quality from each vendor, creating a conglomerate of the best systems available — leading to the best outcomes possible. As its name suggests, best-of-breeds allows providers to pick and choose who they view as the best.

Many IT professionals insist on the best-of-breeds network because they claim it is higher quality and keeps professionals from compromising any part of the system. Indeed, it is the uncompromising solution for providers who have the budget and IT oversight to create the network and maintain it. Single-vendors often have a strong part of their program with other less effective systems. By subscribing to multiple vendors, providers can avoid the need to compromise any portion of their EHR system.

In addition, the best-of-breed does help with preventing the entire system from being vulnerable to a meltdown. The complicated nature of the best-of-breed approach makes each part of the network compartmentalized in case of a breach. For providers who are worried about the security of their system, they may feel more comfortable with the increased security in multiple vendors. It is not only contained, but it is easier to remediate when only one part of the system is compromised.

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All-In-One: Easy to Use Solution

While the best-of-breeds offer uncompromising quality, they are not as simple to use as an all-in-one system — whether that is an advantage is up to you. The all-in-one, single-vendor network is able to transfer data easier due to the interconnectedness of the system. Because multiple systems are not forced to “talk” together, data can be retrieved much more easily. The ability to create a more unified system makes it an ideal choice for many providers. However, with this comes the security risk that a breach in the system compromises all components. Also, unlike the best-of-breed, if one part of the system melts down, all other parts are vulnerable.

All-in-one is also a good option for providers who have limited resources and IT help. Setting up an all-in-one system is much simpler and easier than the multi-dimensional set up of the best-of-breed. Troubleshooting any issues that you may encounter is simpler as well since the vendor has complete knowledge of your system and their support engineers are familiar with all of the components.

All-in-one systems offer potential cost-saving benefits due to the bulk nature of the product attempting to cover all aspects needed by the purchaser. Multiple vendors may overlap in certain aspects, but each product is more specialized.

Set-up for EHR can cost productivity in the short-term, so an all-in-one system means a quicker setup and less work missed — at the expense of quality in the long-run.

Choosing the Best Model for Value-Based Care

Every practice is unique, so the choice between multi-vendor and single-vendor depends on your specific needs. While best-of-breed systems may need more IT expertise to handle the complexity of the system, the advantages it holds over all-in-one more than makes up for it. The increased security and higher quality alone put it ahead of all-in-one systems.

Take the time to figure out what your priorities and needs are when you switch to a value-based care system. However, keep in mind that the system you put in place will be utilized for years to come, so don’t compromise.


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