Thursday, October 9, 2014

Academic EHRs and Clinical Rotations - Why they fit together so well

One of the most common complaints we hear from Healtcare and Nursing Instructors is that students are not allowed to use the EHR/EMR systems at their clinical sites. On one hand this makes sense - having Nursing Students create a permanent record of patient information in an electronic charting system is scary. One charting mistake can open the clinical site up to all sorts of liability issues.

However, that leaves Nursing students without the ability to chart during clinicals and deprives them of the practice they need to perfect their workflow. Because the majority of medical offices are now using Electronic Health Records, our future Nurses and Healthcare professionals will need to be able to efficiently manage patient care while also entering and reviewing patient data on a computer or tablet. Those multi-tasking skills must be a part of today's education. 

Which is why we're huge proponents of using an Academic EHR System during clinical rotations. This solves a few key problems weather you do or do not have access to the systems being used at your clinical sites: 

1. If students are allowed to use the charting system at your clinical site, they will not have to be trained on multiple EHR systems at different clinical sites when using an Academic EHR. No matter what system the clinical site is using, the student will be entering information on the program you use in the classroom or skills lab. That means instead of spending an hour learning a new program, students are using that hour to get time with patients and mentors. 

2. If students are not allowed to use the charting system at your clinical site, an Academic EHR allows the student to practice charting skills and learn a realistic workflow while at clinicals. 

3. Either way, if students are entering information into an Academic EHR instead of the real hospital system, it means instructors have a great way to review students' progress and experience. Once students complete charting for a clinical visit, instructors can review the students' work and also grade or comment on that work. That allows the instructor to follow the students' progress and correct charting mistakes before they become habitual. It will also allow you to go back and review how students have progressed from their first charting submission to their last.

That being said, we understand that it's a big transition to use your school's system during clinical rotations. Before attempting to make the switch, we recommend that your Academic EHR System is web-based so it can be used in real time during clinicals. That way, students can actively chart during their visit using a tablet or laptop. If your students do not have the ability to use technology during their visit, you can also have them make notes on paper during their visit and transcribe that information into the system right after clinicals. 

Also, make sure students understand what information they can and cannot chart. This can be tied into a quick lesson on HIPPA/JACO/etc. Instead of entering the patient's name, students can simply enter their own name or the date of their clinical visit when creating a new chart for clinicals. That way, it gives the students a way to organize their work without violating any privacy regulations. 

So if your school is having an issue getting your students in to chart on the systems used by your clinical sites, it might be time to consider using an Academic EHR System. 

The good news is, if you already have EHR Tutor, there's no additional cost to have your students use the program in multiple classrooms and/or during clinical rotations. Once you have the site set up for those students, they can use it as often as possible in as many ways as you can imagine. 

Keep your eyes open for a follow up post tomorrow with concrete ideas for how you can incorporate your Academic EHR into clinical rotations now that you know why it's a good idea.