Med schools add EHR training to the curricula

Training reflects hope that young doctors will embrace EHRs in medical settings

Some medical schools are incorporating training on electronic health records (EHRs) into their curricula because exposure to the IT systems is increasingly considered a crucial element of the medical education experience, Politico Pro reports.

The move reflects the medical schools' hope that young, technology-savvy doctors will help integrate EHRs into medical settings. Medical educators note that doctors-in-training do not appear to struggle with EHRs like some of their older colleagues do.

Already, most medical schools include some EHR requirement, and more institutions are expected to follow suit, especially given the growing national investment in health IT. The training can take many forms, including tutorials at the beginning of students' first year, units during pre-clinical courses, and components of patient simulations.

How one medical school is incorporating EHRs

At Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), a $2.7 million grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and a $1 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have allowed educators to revamp the curriculum with a renewed focus on EHRs and patient safety.

Bill Hersh—chair of OHSU's department of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology—says the EHR training focuses on the implications and benefits of EHR technology. In addition to basic technical training, the program aims to teach students, residents, and interns how to best use EHRs without adversely affecting interactions with patients.

"We teach them details of how to use the system itself, but it's in the context of the larger view," Hersh says.

OHSU student Merrit Hoover says that young doctors expect to work with computers. "For our generation of physicians, it's almost something we take for granted," she says, adding, "For a lot of us who've grown up more or less with computers, it's fairly intuitive" (Kalter, Politico Pro, 3/24 [subscription required]).

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