AMA’s EHR Education Initiative: Technology Orientation for Tomorrow’s Doctors
A recent AMA initiative to add EHR training to the medical school curriculum is a well-intentioned effort to teach tomorrow’s providers how to use computer technology to enhance care delivery. Doctors-in-training should gain a basic understanding of what EHRs can do, and what physicians are required to do in them. Important topics include how the computer can assist in diagnosis, security issues with EHRs, documentation issues with EHRs, and how to use alerting to its most efficient/useful capability.
Getting dumped into the “real world” of medicine never having touched an EHR would be insane — though highly unlikely, considering how much time residents spend on EHRs. Additionally, students will have the chance to learn EHR capability and functionality as part of their clerkships in third- and fourth-year because, presumably, they will be using those systems to check results, write notes, etc.
Certainly, medical education needs to evolve to account for the technology used in medical practice. The recent AMA initiative strikes me as similar to when the organization recommended adding business topics to medical education, like malpractice and documentation, in response to feedback from practicing doctors.
EHRs already are part of the practice of medicine, and computers will only become more integral to delivering care in the years ahead. Med students must become fluent in their use and, just as importantly, advocates for tools that support their workflow.
[This post is excerpted from a Q&A with Dr. Sun published earlier this month in Health IT Outcomes.]