CHICAGO — Addressing concerns that many medical students and residents lack sufficient training in their medical school and residency program electronic health record (EHR) systems, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policy at its Annual Meeting aimed at ensuring that medical students receive quality clinical documentation experience using EHRs. The new policy builds on the AMA’s efforts over the last five years to transform medical education and ensure future physicians are prepared to meet the needs of patients in the modern health system.

“Unfortunately, despite a growing awareness within the medical education community that medical students and residents need to learn how to ensure quality clinical documentation within an electronic health record, some institutions continue to restrict access to the EHR due to a variety of concerns,” said AMA Board Member and medical student Karthik V. Sarma, M.S. “There is a clear need for medical students to have access to — and learn how to properly use — EHRs well before they enter practice. That’s why, even as we continue to work to improve EHR usability for all physicians and physicians-in-training, we’ve been working over the last five years with medical schools across the country to ensure our future physicians are better equipped to provide care in a practice environment of rapid progress, new technology, and changing expectations both from government and society — directly impacting the way health care is delivered nationwide.”

According to the AMA’s new policy report on the quality and effectiveness of clinical documentation training for medical students and residents, there are concerns about the effects of the EHR on student and resident relationships with patients, in that students and residents may be more engaged with the chart and computer than with the patient. Additionally, the report notes that students may receive poor role modeling from faculty, as well as from the entire care team, on appropriate use of and best practices for EHRs.

To help ensure that future physicians receive sufficient training using EHRs, the AMA’s new policy encourages medical schools and residency programs to design clinical documentation and EHR training that provides evaluative feedback regarding the value and effectiveness of the training, and that can be evaluated and demonstrated as useful in clinical practice. The policy also encourages medical schools and residency programs to provide EHR professional development resources for faculty to assure appropriate modeling of EHR use during physician/patient interactions.

The report also notes that any training should provide students, residents and physicians with institutional policy regarding copy and paste functions or any other functions that have local guidelines.

The AMA launched its Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative in 2013 to bridge the gaps that exist between how medical students are trained and how health care is delivered in the modern health care system. The AMA has since awarded $12.5 million in grants to 32 of the nation’s leading medical schools to develop innovative curricula that can ultimately be implemented in medical schools across the country. These innovative models are already supporting training for an estimated 19,000 medical students who will one day care for 33 million patients each year.

The next phase of the AMA Consortium will be announced later this year. Additionally, as part of the AMA’s commitment to improving physician training across the continuum of medical education, the AMA will also soon begin work to ensure that the changes being made to medical school curricula will offer students a seamless transition into residency.

Media Contact:

Kelly Jakubek

ph: (312) 464-4443

[email protected]

About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.