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AMA: Real EHR Data in Med School Will Boost “Informatics IQ”

Medical school students will have a chance to practice their informatics skills by using real EHR data to simulate genuine patient encounters.

EHR data in medical school

Source: Thinkstock

By Jennifer Bresnick

- The American Medical Association is continuing its efforts to modernize the medical school experience by partnering with the Regenstrief Institute to integrate electronic health records more deeply into physician education.

As part of the AMA’s ongoing initiative to craft the “medical school of the future,” trainee physicians at institutions around the country will be able to leverage real EHR data to virtually treat patients and practice their informatics skills before graduation.

“Our medical schools are very good at preparing students for the basic and clinical sciences that are essential to providing patient care. However, many residents and young physicians are coming out of medical school with gaps in their ability to practice in the modern health system,” said AMA Vice President for Medical Education Susan Skochelak, MD.

“Too often, students enter residency training without the ability to effectively and efficiently work with EHRs, even though they are one of the primary tools physicians use in everyday practice. That is why we have been working with some of the nation’s leading medical schools to develop bold, innovative ways to improve physician training.”

The Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform contains actual data from more than 11,000 patients – deidentified or mis-identified to protect the privacy of those individuals. 

READ MORE: How Population Health in Med School Preps Docs for Value-Based Care

Students will be able to make diagnoses, document simulated encounters, and place orders using an application that mimics the type of electronic health record interfaces currently in use across the care continuum.

The platform has undergone a year of testing and refinement at the Indiana University School of Medicine, a member of the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education consortium.

“It is ironic as electronic health records have proliferated in the past decade, significant medical student exposure to these systems has decreased. EHRs are a tool most physicians will use every day in their practice, and data from EHRs will impact all physicians,” said Regenstrief research scientist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at IU School of Medicine Blaine Y. Takesue, MD.

“This new collaboration between Regenstrief and the AMA reflects two realities. First, health professions schools regard EHR and informatics training as necessary for their students. Second, the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Regenstrief Institute, Eskenazi Health and the AMA believe that investment in the Regenstrief Electronic Health Record Clinical Learning Platform will improve healthcare by improving the informatics ‘IQ’ of medical students and other healthcare profession students.”

The University of Connecticut School of Medicine has also already adopted the platform, and is integrating the tool into several courses focused on population health management and patient-centered care. 

READ MORE: Healthcare Big Data Analytics in Med School Marks Turning Point

Students will be able to mine the dataset to learn more about identifying the social determinates of health and addressing health disparities.

“In our growing digital age, health care delivery is rapidly changing,” said UConn School of Medicine Senior Associate Dean for Education Suzanne Rose, MD. “It is critical that all medical students have exposure to integrated EHRs which will be a mandatory part of their future care of patients.”

“UConn’s medical school is excited to further enhance our educational innovations by integrating the available Regenstrief EHR platform into our curriculum—taking advantage of the endless possibilities that the platform offers to explore all aspects of medicine and patient care.” 

The initiative complements the 2016 release of the AMA’s Health Systems Science textbook and training program, which encourages medical schools to teach students about how to practice medicine in a value-based care environment. 

The AMA has advised the educational system to add health systems science to the core clinical sciences included in traditional medical school curriculums in order to better prepare new physicians for the challenges of team-based care, informatics, population health management, and consumer-centered service that await them upon graduation.

READ MORE: Kaiser Permanente Targets Population Health with New Med School

“We know that the way health care is being delivered is changing, but until now those changes have not been widely incorporated into the way we teach our physicians. Our medical schools are very good at preparing students for the basic and clinical sciences that are paramount to providing care to patients, but what is largely missing is how to deliver that care in a complex health system,” said AMA CEO James L. Madara, MD when announcing the new framework.

“By working together with our Consortium schools, we are taking the right steps to prepare tomorrow’s physicians to be equipped to quickly adapt to the changing health care landscape and provide value-based care as soon as they enter practice.”

Medical school stakeholders interested in adopting the Regenstrief Clinical Learning Platform may attend a webinar on April 24, 2017 with more information.  Registration is available by clicking here.


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