Indiana University School of Medicine’s 2018 graduating class is the first in the nation to use an electronic health record training system that leverages patient data to enable medical students to virtually treat patients with multiple complex conditions by navigating records, documenting encounters and placing orders within an app similar to the EHRs used in clinical practice.

“This is an important innovation given that the majority of today’s physicians are graduating from medical schools with incomplete training using EHRs,” said Susan Skochelak, MD, the American Medical Association’s vice president for medical education. “By better preparing the physicians of tomorrow to practice in a modern, technology-driven environment, we are laying a foundation for them to succeed in a practice environment that is far different than the one many of us entered after medical school.”

The EHR Clinical Learning Platform, which was developed by IU School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute with a $1 million grant as part of the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, is currently being used at eight U.S. medical and health professions schools that are educating more than 3,000 students.

As part of the five-year AMA grant, the platform was incorporated into IU’s curriculum so it could be implemented by other medical schools, according to Skochelak.

Graduates of the Indiana University School of Medicine “are among the very first medical school graduates to receive their training as part of our ongoing state-of-the-art effort aimed at transforming the way physicians are trained nationwide,” said David Barbe, MD, president of AMA. “Because of this innovative new curriculum, these future physicians will be better equipped to provide care in a practice environment of rapid progress, new technology and changing expectations, both from government and society.”

Also See: AMA supports EHR training for medical students

Blaine Takesue, MD, Regenstrief research scientist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, notes that the EHR Clinical Learning Platform is a first-of-its-kind training system that uses de- and mis-identified patient data to protect privacy. He adds that the platform’s interface is similar to EHRs currently used in clinical practice and has many of the same capabilities, including writing notes, looking up data and placing orders.

“The concept is to teach students how to be efficient with their EHR and to help combat the widespread problem of physician burnout,” observes Takesue. “It’s not only about using data. It’s about how information technology can create efficiencies, positively impact patient safety, and reduce the costs of healthcare delivery.”

“The physician of the future will not only need excellent clinical skills for managing their patients but will also need skills to evaluate and manage large amounts of clinical data,” said Ruth Crowe, MD, associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, which is part of AMA’s 32-school Accelerating Change in Medical Education consortium.

The goal of the consortium is to develop a new curriculum to transform the way doctors are trained. This year, five medical schools—Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, IU School of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, and Penn State College of Medicine—are graduating their first classes of students fully trained under this AMA-led initiative.

According to Crowe, the two core pillars of a traditional medical school curriculum are basic sciences and clinical sciences. However, she said NYU, “like other medical schools, are now developing that third pillar of medical education—known as health systems science,” which includes understanding how to improve healthcare quality, increase the value of care provided, enhance patient safety, deliver population-based care and work collaboratively in teams.

Using a grant from AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, NYU School of Medicine—in partnership with NYU Langone Medical Center—developed a project called “Healthcare by the Numbers,” in which students leverage actual clinical data from the New York State Department of Health’s Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS), a database of 7 million patient-level records.

“The students overwhelmingly see these skills as extremely relevant to their future practice,” says Crowe. “They recognize the value of looking at data across panels of patients. And (they) were impressively able to recognize the strengths and the pitfalls of these clinical databases and use this data to answer clinical questions, with the aim of improving care quality and equity.”

NYU has made its entire Healthcare by the Numbers: Populations, Systems and Clinically Integrated Data curriculum available to other medical schools through a publicly accessible website, Crowe adds. “They can literally plug and play with it, or modify any parts of it to their curriculum.”

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