AMA aims to train more medical students on using EHRs

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The American Medical Association (AMA) has announced a partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute to get a new clinical learning platform into medical schools, so students can gain experience with electronic health records (EHR) before beginning their residency.

The majority of new physicians don’t receive training on using EHRs “effectively and efficiently” before entering residency, according to 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,” she said on a conference call with reporters.

Using Regenstrief’s platform, adapted from a Meaningful Use Stage 2-certified EHR with a mix of “real, de- and mis-identified patient data,” students can get acquainted with EHR activities they’ll use in practice, such as going through records, documenting encounters and placing orders. The hope is medical educators will use the technology to teach about broader concepts, too, like population health management and quality improvement.

According to the AMA, it’s now being used in several medical schools, including IU and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine (UConn), where it’s been incorporated into a course on using social determinants of health.   

“The purpose of this is to present basic science information in the context of the patient, to put a patient face and a patient story on everything we present to students so they become introduced to metabolic pathways in the context of the full complexity of how patients present,” said David Henderson, MD, associate professor of family medicine and associate dean for medical student affairs at UConn.

Three other schools—Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and the University of Idaho—will soon implement the platform, according to the AMA. For interested educators from other schools, the AMA has scheduled a webinar for April 24 to discuss how the EHR can be incorporated into medical curriculums.

The efforts are part of AMA’s “Accelerating Change in Medical Education” initiative, which began in 2013 with $11 million in grants to medical schools. Most recently, the initiative launched a new textbook focused on the skills physicians will need in the era of value-based care.