Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

Why EHR Systems Use Should be Part of Medical School Education

By Vera Gruessner

With the wide range of healthcare reforms, new health IT implementations, mobile health growth, and ongoing federal policy changes, the medical sphere can be daunting when entering the field as a young physician or nurse. Today, there is much more to learn before a student enters the workforce and the American Medical Association (AMA) is currently supporting the need for medical students to learn how to utilize EHR systems while still in school.

According to an AMA press release, the organization is looking to ensure all medical students are properly trained and ready to join the constantly evolving healthcare sector upon graduating. The AMA has adopted a policy that encourages medical students to obtain much-needed experience utilizing certified EHR systems.

“There is a clear need for medical students today to have access to and learn how to properly use electronic health records well before they enter practice,” AMA Board Member Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., said in the press release. “For our future physicians to successfully navigate the 21st century health care system, we must close the gaps that currently exist between how medical students are educated and how healthcare is delivered now and in the future.”

The policy initiated by the AMA will lead the organization to work with accrediting bodies among medical schools and further urge schools, residencies, and fellowship programs to train students in using EHR systems and medical devices while interacting with patients in the exam room or at the hospital bedside.

Ensuring that medical students are truly ready for utilizing innovative technologies within the healthcare setting is expected to improve patient care and the accuracy of communications, the AMA explains.

Some typical hands-on experience that medical students would benefit from include entering patient encounter data and clinical orders into relevant EHR systems. The AMA is looking to completely revamp medical school education across the country through its Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative.

Currently, the organization along with with 11 leading medical schools across the nation are addressing the need for EHR training as part of new undergraduate medical education models. The innovative policy also asks to define specific “characteristics of an ideal software system” to be used at medical schools.

Some other steps that the AMA is taking to address medical education is emphasizing the need for inter-professional education, which will lead them to better manage team-based care. New workshops and programs are being created to give medical students the opportunity to work with pharmacy, social work, public health, and nursing students.

Additionally, it is important for future doctors to become skilled learners and master adaptive learning, as the healthcare industry may continue evolving and changing over the coming decades to address the many challenges of complex patient care.

Most importantly, it is necessary to train medical students how to properly use technologies like mobile health applications, EHR systems, data analytics software, medical devices, and remote monitoring tools, as the health IT sector continues to grow and impact patient care delivery.

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