AMA Supports Medical Student Access to Electronic Health Records

New AMA policy builds on organization’s robust efforts to transform medical education nationwide 

CHICAGO – Building on the AMA’s current efforts to transform medical education and ensure medical students are trained and prepared to practice in the evolving health care environment, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policy today to ensure medical students receive necessary hands-on clinical experience using electronic health records (EHR).

“There is a clear need for medical students today to have access to and learn how to properly use electronic health records well before they enter practice,” said AMA Board Member Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D. “For our future physicians to successfully navigate the 21st century health care system, we must close the gaps that currently exist between how medical students are educated and how health care is delivered now and in the future.”

The new policy calls on the AMA to work with medical school accrediting bodies to encourage the nation’s medical schools, along with residency and fellowship training programs, to teach students how to use electronic devices in the exam room and at the bedside. This promises to improve patient care as well as increase the accuracy of communications. The policy also encourages the AMA to support medical student acquisition of hands-on experience in documenting patient encounters and entering clinical orders into patients’ EHRs, with appropriate supervision.

As part of the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative aimed at reshaping medical education in the U.S., AMA work currently is underway along with a consortium of 11 leading medical schools to develop innovative models that incorporate EHR training into undergraduate medical education. Based on research and the future outcomes of this strategic work, the new policy also calls for determining the characteristics of an ideal software system that should be used at medical schools and teaching hospitals that offer teaching EHRs.

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