EHRs Need to be Incorporated into Med School

Health care technology may provide many benefits to both patients and providers, but it doesn’t do a lot of good if medical students aren’t being trained to work with electronic health records (EHRs). So the Alliance for Clinical Education (ACE) is calling for guidelines to ensure students are prepared by the time they graduate.

The ACE published two studies on the important of med student participation in EHRs.

“Currently only 64% of medical school programs allow students any use of EHRs, and of those only two-thirds allowed students to write notes with in the electronic record,” Maya M. Hammoud, the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

Currently, there aren’t any education mandates providing guidelines on teaching and assessing students’ skills in EHR proficiency. ACE recommends that accreditation bodies use stronger language in directives to guarantee that med students will receive the necessary training and resources in EHRs.

This is something that the schools also have to take upon themselves, developing a set of competencies related to EHRs that students have to achieve before they graduate. ACE came up with some guidelines:

1. Students must document in the patient’s chart, and their notes should be reviewed for content and format
2. Students must have the opportunity to practice order entry in an EHR — in actual or simulated patient cases — prior to graduation.
3. Students should be exposed to using the decision aids that typically accompany EHRs.
4. Schools must develop a set of medical student competencies related to charting in the EHR.

“Schools have a responsibility to graduate students with the expertise and sense of duty in the basics of practice,” Lynn Cleary, MD, president of the Alliance for Clinical Education, said in a statement. “The EHR is now part of that skill set.”

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