Who taught you how to drive? Do you remember what type of vehicle it was that you spent the most time learning on? For me, it was my grandfather that was brave enough to work with me while I learned how to navigate the roads. That was decades ago now. In fact, he drove a new 1990 Buick Century or Chevy Celebrity Station Wagon. Classic! I actually don’t remember the exact model type other than it was a small station wagon from General Motors. They are essentially the same vehicle, right? If you happened upon one on the road today, it would be a miracle. The owner of that gem would need to be a pure enthusiast of that particular wagon—almost 30 years have passed since I was learning to drive in that wagon and it was definitely all about utility.
The wagon had 4 tires, a steering wheel, a speedometer, accelerator pedal, brakes, cloth seats, and a rearview mirror.
Did it have doors? Yes, of course, it had doors. How about a glove box? Yes. Center console and seat belts? Yes, and yes. Heated seats? No, it was 1990. So, it does not have everything that you drive today—but do you really need heated seats. I guess that all depends on how long winter is and how cold it gets where you live.
So, why the short drive down memory lane about learning to drive?
An EHR for Everyone
One concern that has been addressed consistently over the first few years of our rollout of our EHR Clinical Learning platform is “the platform is not Cerner or Epic.” No, it is not Cerner or Epic. We understand that it would be easier if Medical students learned on the platform that they will be using when they go to work for a health system or in practice. Do you know what system that will be?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are not one-size fits all platforms to train students on. Yes, some students will end up in a health system using the Cerner EHR or Epic EHR. But, they might practice where they use McKesson, or one of the other 600+ certified EHR vendors within the healthcare IT space. More people use the other 600+ EHRs than Cerner and Epic combined, but they are the two names that come up the most when asked why someone should use our EHR platform in their classroom.
Can you imagine a training platform that could cover over 600 different interfaces for electronic health records? No, of course not. That would be ridiculous. There is not one EHR for everyone. If there was, there would be one vendor.
Epic and Cerner are EHR vehicles for better patient care, just like our platform had been in the Eskenazi Health System here in Indianapolis for almost 40 years. Our teaching EHR is just a vehicle that looks like and drives like the vehicles across the street at IU Health with Cerner or now at Eskenazi with their freshly minted version of Epic within their health system.
Like Driving a Car
Using our teaching electronic medical and health record system is like learning to drive a car. We are essentially Driver’s Ed for EHRs. You don’t have to relearn to drive just because you’re renting a car or switching vehicles do you? We are giving programs the keys to our EHR to teach your students how to safely drive before they get out there with real patients and all the other drivers.
It is fully equipped with over 10,000 patients for case presentations, clinical informatics, critical thinking, interprofessional (IPE), or population health lessons. That is a lot (like 100X) more than you will have access to for teaching in the classroom or the simulation lab with any EHR vendor today. Does it drive exactly like Cerner or McKesson? No, but you can get to the same place with students that you can with any of those systems—better students with more experience using the tools they will use in practice starting in their first year of medical school and not their 3rd or 4th during clerkship.
The experience gained by using our EHR Clinical Learning platform is universal and relevant for navigating other electronic health and medical record systems like those found in health systems and practices (EPIC, Cerner, McKesson, or the 600+ other EHR systems available). Curricula that is built around the student using an EHR / EMR during 1st and 2nd year (M1-M2) has received great feedback and results from a study published in BioMed Central in 2016 on “Using standardized patient encounters to teach longitudinal continuity of care in a family medicine clerkship.” It was done with an off the shelf medical record system called Simple EMR.
You can read the abstract and get to the research here at this link on continuity care using EMR.
It is difficult to provide all medical students with longitudinal care experience if they are not focused on family medicine before they become a provider in a health system or practice. Using the value of the rich longitudinal data that we have with the +10K patients now allows everyone that type of experience when you use a curriculum similar to the one discussed in the study above. We fill that experience gap for programs that want to give their students those learning opportunities.
Students that participated in the program demonstrated higher levels of confidence and stronger performance managing chronic and acute conditions, patient-doctor relationship measures, and use of EMR than the test group that did not use the EMR in the curriculum. More studies need to be done, but if you review the study it looks very promising for the benefits all students would see from using an EMR / EHR in their curricula.
We give you the fully equipped vehicle in an EHR and patient content that students are asking for in medical school today.
Take it for a Spin and Make an Impact
We are not selling cars, but rather we are trying to make a crater-sized impact in the world and our collaborators like the American Medical Association (AMA), Indiana University School of Medicine, Eskenazi, and IU Health are continuing to work with us to make this a reality for improved medical education for medical school students around the world.
Want to dive deeper into how our platform would look with the 6-month longitudinal continuity of care experience can be compressed into 4 weeks describe in the study above, sign-up for our newsletter where I will go into more detail.
If you want to see me build a case like this one in our system, please schedule a demonstration and I would be happy to show you how easy it is to steer your program with our EHR Clinical Learning Platform towards better students with more EHR experience before graduation.
Sr. Product Manager – Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform
Regenstrief Institute – Clem McDonald Center for Biomedical Informatics (CBMI)
About the Author
Brian Stout is a senior leader in marketing and product at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis. He is an authority on using EHRs in Medical and Allied Professions Education. He leads product and builds amazing learning platforms for one of the nation’s most seasoned (since 1972) and innovative electronic health records in the country. An advocate for learning and professional development, he is continuing his education with a Masters in Data Science from Indiana University. You can follow him on Twitter @TeachingEMR and LinkedIn or other social platforms under ThinkStout.