When shopping for an Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution, one of the first decisions to be made is whether to build it (modular EHR) or buy it (complete EHR). Cloud based, complete EHR systems are solving the build it or buy it debate. Modular EHRs give healthcare agencies the opportunity to make a custom solution. Buying an out of package product may seem easier. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. However, cloud-based, complete EHR systems offer functionality that resolves drawbacks of both modular and complete solutions and gives healthcare agencies a 3rd choice that may be a much better option.
Much has been written about the pros and cons of both modular and complete EHRs. As outlined by AmericanEHR:
Pros – Complete EHRs
- No finger pointing as to which module is not working as everything is in one solution.
- Less hassle with software and hardware updates/upgrades.
- Relatively seamless user interface. (Features within the EHR system work with the same look and feel rather than constantly switching between different programs).
- Simpler to interface with labs and hospitals (Interfaces should not break when the EHR is updated).
Cons – Complete EHRs
- Less customizable. May not meet the needs of all the providers in your office.
- Existing EHR systems may not have complete EHR certification.
- Up-front costs may be more expensive.
Pros – Customizable EHRs
- More flexible.
- Can allow practices with existing software to add new functionality without needing to change the rest of the system.
- Can be a good choice for those who want the flexibility of mixing purchased certified EHR technology with self-developed technology.
- May have a lower upfront cost.
Cons – EHR Modules
- A high level of technical expertise may be required in order to assemble a Module-based EHR.
- Purchasers are responsible for evaluating the companies offering the technology as well as assembling and interfacing a sufficient set of modules to support all meaningful use objectives.
Since these pros and cons were established between complete and modular solutions, another option has arrived: the option of purchasing a COMPLETE EHR which is also customizable to your agency’s needs and locality (i.e. takes into account and is responsive to your state-specific reporting requirements). Cloud based, complete EHR systems are customizable, less expensive than Now, the “look back” to the “Cons” regarding Complete EHRs takes on a different hue: each and every “con” raised has been addressed, remedied, and is now eliminated. The best complete EHRs are, indeed, able to be personalized to an agency’s needs, federally certified, and totally competitive regarding pricing – if not outright less expensive – in comparison with assembling a modular system.
Following the recommendation of the Department of Health and Human Services June 2017 report which spotlighted the critical importance of taking action to protect agencies against cybersecurity threats, the decision on which option is the best for healthcare agencies becomes more clear.