EHR adoption in physician offices reached 55% in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ National Center for Health Statistics survey that was released on July 17. In 2010 it was 50.7%. Eighty-five percent of the physicians were happy with their new systems, with 75% agreeing that the adoption of EHR helped them to provide better care. Most of the physicians surveyed assured that they would purchase the EHR systems again.
When this is the case with physicians, medical student training in electronic health records is not up to the mark in many medical schools. The problems schools face include billing issues and limitations inherent in the systems that make it difficult to integrate EHR into the school curricula. According to practicing physicians, medical schools should take all measures possible to make their students competent in using electronic health records. The level of access students are allowed to EHR varies with the schools. A study published in the July 24 Teaching and Learning in Medicine reveal that sixty-four percent of medical schools allowed students to use EHRs, and among those 2/3 rd allowed students to make notes in the records. The survey was conducted on 338 clinical directors by the Alliance for Clinical Education, a multidisciplinary medical educators’ alliance. According to 27% of the survey respondents, students were allowed to scrutinize and write patient notes and even enter patient orders to be co-signed. 41% of the respondents said that they allowed students to view and write notes, but did not allow them to make orders.
The alliance published certain guidelines in the light of the study to help schools implement effective EHR training. They recommended that students be:
- Allowed to do order entry for simulated or real patients.
- Enabled access to the decision aids that are integrated into many EHR systems.
- Given the opportunity to make notes in a patient’s record.
Medical students should be necessarily included in utilizing the EHR systems if they are to be trained well to become competent physicians of the future.