AMA, Regenstrief launch EHR training platform for medical students

Initiative expected to give emerging physicians greater comfort with electronic health record workflows.
By Mike Miliard
01:55 PM
EHR training platform Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine

The American Medical Association on Wednesday announced a partnership with the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine to launch an electronic health record training program for medical students.

Too many medical students enter residency "without the ability to effectively and efficiently use EHRs," said Susan Skochelak, MD, the AMA's group vice president for medical education. "This is comparable to a physician graduating from medical school without learning how to properly use a stethoscope."

Through the partnership with the AMA, the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform will be put to work at medical schools nationwide.

[Also: AMA CMIO: EHRs are falling short of meeting the needs of doctors]

The platform, billed as the first of its kind, uses actual data from patients at Indianapolis-based Eskenazi Health, enabling students to more realistically care for virtual patients as they familiarize themselves with the workflows of the EHR.

"We use a sophisticated set of algorithms to remove or misidentify personal identifiers to protect identities," said Blaine Takesue, MD, Regenstrief research scientist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at IU School of Medicine, on a conference call announcing the platform.

[Also: Health Catalyst, Regenstrief partner to commercialize natural language processing technology]

The technology "allows physicians in training to virtually care for patients with multiple complex health conditions by navigating records, documenting encounters and placing orders within an application similar to the EHRs they will be using in their practices," he said.

It also offers educators the ability to "create customized content that's specific for their curriculum and tools to evaluate students."

Back in 2013, AMA launched its Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium, awarding $1 million each to 11 medical schools, with the aim to "close gaps in readiness for practice," Skochelak said at the time – noting that perhaps 33 percent or more of medical school students weren't given even basic access to EHRs.

Most schools "know they want to change," she said, "but they're having trouble breaking out of the constraints that they're in."

Since 2013, the number of medical schools in the ACME consortium has risen to 32. As one of them, IU School of Medicine got a $1 million AMA grant to work with Regenstrief, looking for ways to incorporate EHR training into its curriculum so it could be implemented by other medical schools.

Now, after more than a year of use at IU, having been improved using feedback from students, the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform is available for more widespread adoption and at medical schools across the United States.

"We believe this platform will help thousands of students better understand the value of the EHR, as well as help them address important issues pertaining to population health, quality improvement, patient safety and social determinants of health," said Skochelak.

The Clinical Learning Platform has already been adopted by at UConn School of Medicine and Southern Indiana University School of Nursing. It will next be rolled out at three other schools, including Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as the University of Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program.

"As a physician, I believe that training healthcare providers how to use an EHR is an important part of medical education," said Takesue. "As an informatician, I believe it's important that students think about how the technology is used in patient care, and how they can better influence how it should be used in patient care.”

"EHRs are tools that physicians use every day. It makes sense to introduce future physicians to this technology early in their training,” he said.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
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