EMR in the Classroom

Feats of Strength: Building a Strong Case for an EHR / EMR in the Classroom

It might be challenging to get you academic medical center to open up their EHR / EMR for learning activities in the classroom. In fact, it might take a Herculean effort to make that happen for undergraduate medical students or allied health professionals that are in their first year. It should not be those extreme feats of strength to improve learning that we are tasked with today.

That is why when Dr. Blaine Takesue and Dr. Deb Litzelman came up with the idea of building a “virtual health system” for students to use before entering clinical practice on the campus of Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) it captured the attention of the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA granted Dr. Takesue and Dr. Litzelman the coveted Accelerating Change in Medical Education (ACE) grant back in 2013 to bring their grant proposal to life. Now other programs are using it in their programs to promote learning.
Dr. Takesue and Dr. Litzelman are distinguished faculty researchers here at the Regenstrief Institute. They would not have been able to build a fully functional EHR / EMR for their virtual health system grant. That is where the Regenstrief Institute and my team come in. If you have read any of the other posts here on the site or seen articles from JAMA on our EHR, then you understand the long history our non-profit has in the EHR development and use inside of healthcare settings. We were able to partner with IUSM on this grant and develop a “Teaching EMR” (which turned this ambitious project into a product) inside the virtual health system. We took the EHR / EMR that has been in production at Eskenazi Health (formerly Wishard) and partnered with Eskenazi, IUSM, AMA and the team inside of Regenstrief to develop the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform (formerly the Teaching EMR – tEMR).

The team at the IUSM started using the application in the classroom in August of 2015. I was brought in at the beginning of June 2015. Our quixotical Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform (formerly the Teaching EMR) idea struck a nerve with others in the academic market that have heard about the work we were doing for IUSM and were interested in the opportunity to bring RECL (formerly tEMR) to their program. At this time, we are in several Medical and Allied Health Profession Education (Nursing, Pharmacy, OT/PT, Nutrition, Radiology, etc…) and are continuing to grow.

So, how are others advancing learning for their students?

The Limitless EHR / EMR in the Classroom

One the questions I receive a lot from individuals like yourself is, “How is it being used?” I would like to think that the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform (formerly the Teaching EMR) is only limited by the imagination of our users, but that is probably a little too broad. So, in the picture below is a representation of some of the ways that users are currently using or planning to use the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform (formerly the Teaching EMR learning platform) for their classrooms.

Thanks, Mr. Obvious

The most common use case is Case Presentations obviously. Users can explore, interact, and perform case presentations using anonymized patient and provider records inside the application. We have the largest database of real patient records for education that educators and students can build their curriculum around with the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platofmr (formerly the Teaching EMR).

Example: An adult or pediatric patient with OT/PT notes that has multiple encounters in both inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department within a recent five-year time-span for Osteoarthritis, Lupus, or Congestive Heart Failure is desired. We have tens of thousands of patients to choose from for your case presentations on these problems. Maybe the goal is to introduce first-years to case presentations with a simplified patient with congestive heart failure? Using our patient selection tools, it is easy to identify and use a “clean” patient to match your learning objectives. Or maybe you would like to challenge your fourth-years with a complex case that has been built on the previous case used earlier in their education and evaluate their growth?

We’ve made it simple for educators and valuable for students.

I understand from talking with educators that many teams already have paper cases in their curriculum that they have been using with students. We can certainly use a patient from our extensive database to match your current paper cases quickly and easily. Or we would be happy to convert that paper case into an electronic case for use with students.

See for yourself with a demo for you and your team or take a RECL (formerly tEMR) test drive.

What Else Can it Do?

I want to keep these posts short so I will expand on the other three potential use categories for the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform (formerly the Teaching EMR) in the classroom. At a high level, we offer a lot of flexibility for programs to use the tEMR in areas like:

  • Process exercises for teams and providers
    • interprofessionally
    • individually
    • organized like a practice
  • Data concepts
    • Critical thinking and reasoning
    • Data quality and review
  • Population Health

The evaluation capabilities of RECL (formerly tEMR) of patient records and observing a student’s progress within the system make this a great teaching tool for health informatics and health system science.

We know that students are being excluded from care and are demanding contextual learning before they enter practice. With the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform (formerly the Teaching EMR), we have developed what we believe to be a very useful and unique solution to help educators with promoting learning for students during not just the “why” or “what” phases of their education, but also the “how” they need to be prepared for after leaving campus.

  • Basics Sciences – Why
  • Clinical Sciences – What
  • Health Systems Science – How

Achieving more with students in the classroom using the flexibility and simplicity of the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform (formerly the Teaching EMR) is never out of reach. We would love to partner with you and your program to enhance the education your students receive.

Learn more by contacting me or speaking with one of other team members. Also, look for our next posts on Process Exercises, Data Concepts, and Population Health in the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform (formerly the Teaching EMR).

Thank you!

Brian Stout
Sr. Product Manager
Regenstrief Institute – Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform (formerly the Teaching EMR)



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 for one of the nation’s most seasoned (since 1972) and innovative electronic health record platforms in the country. An advocate for learning and professional development, he is continuing his education with a Masters in Data Science from Indiana University in the Fall of 2017. You can follow him on Twitter @TeachingEMR and LinkedIn or other social platforms under ThinkStout.