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AMA Adopts Policy to Expand EHR Use Training in Med Schools

A new AMA policy will ensure medical students receive adequate EHR clinical documentation and EHR use training.

AMA expands EHR use training in med schools with new policy.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- AMA recently adopted a new policy to promote EHR use training in medical schools as part of an effort to reduce administrative burden associated with clinical documentation and ensure future physicians are adequately prepared to enter a digitized healthcare system.

The association announced the new policy at its 2018 Annual Meeting, which took place from June 9 to June 13.

The new policy follows the release of an AMA Council of Medical Education report addressing concerns about the quality of EHR clinical documentation training provided to med students and residents.

“Unfortunately, despite a growing awareness within the medical education community that medical students and residents need to learn how to ensure quality clinical documentation within an electronic health record, some institutions continue to restrict access to the EHR due to a variety of concerns,” said AMA Board Member and medical student Karthik V. Sarma.

As outlined in the policy report, some institutions restrict med student access to EHR technology because of concerns about the potential for clinical documentation errors made through copy-and-pasted notes. These errors in clinical documentation could leave some institutions vulnerable to legal liability.

There are also concerns among institution leadership about the effects of EHR use on a student or resident’s relationship to patients. Training students on EHR use during patient visits may divert their attention away from the patient.

The report includes recommendations to help medical school faculty to overcome certain concerns and integrate EHR use training into medical education.

“There is a clear need for medical students to have access to — and learn how to properly use — EHRs well before they enter practice,” said Sarma.

“That’s why, even as we continue to work to improve EHR usability for all physicians and physicians-in-training, we’ve been working over the last five years with medical schools across the country to ensure our future physicians are better equipped to provide care in a practice environment of rapid progress, new technology, and changing expectations both from government and society—directly impacting the way health care is delivered nationwide,” he continued.

AMA encouraged medical schools and residency programs to provide clinical documentation and EHR training that can be evaluated and demonstrated as useful in clinical practice.

Additionally, the association recommended medical schools and residency programs provide EHR professional development resources for faculty to ensure appropriate modeling of EHR use during physician and patient interactions.

The policy also suggested med schools to provide feedback evaluating the value and effectiveness of EHR use training. Any student training about copy-and-paste functions or any other EHR functionality should follow local guidelines and institutional policy.

AMA first began promoting EHR use training in med schools with the 2013 launch of its Accelerating Change in Medical Education (ACE) initiative, which aims to improve physician satisfaction with health IT and EHR technology through education.

AMA celebrated its first ACE consortium school graduating classes this spring, AMA CEO James L. Madara, MD, announced at the AMA Annual Meeting.

ACE graduates enter the medical field with knowledge of effective EHR use, population health, and social determinants of health.

“We’ve produced new physicians who are adaptive learners, capable team leaders with a greater awareness of policy,” said Madara. “This is a major shift in medical education. Consequently, this requires creation of resources for this new type of physician throughout her career.”

The next phase of the AMA Consortium will be announced later this year, AMA announced. Additionally, AMA will soon begin work to ensure changes made to medical school curricula ensures that students have a seamless transition into residency.

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