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Joanne Finnegan

 

A virtual electronic health record (EHR) is helping medical residents at the Indiana University School of Medicine navigate the complexities of providing healthcare to geriatric patients.

The residents are making use of a tool that includes detailed information from more than 11,000 records using real patient information that has been misidentified or altered to protect their privacy, according to AMA Wire.

The program enables the residents to get up to speed on EHR use and to get a deeper understanding of the health problems of geriatric patients, those 85 and older, using a team-based multidisciplinary approach. Indiana University launched the tool in cooperation with the American Medical Association and the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute.

The program works by bringing together rotating groups of five residents who team up with five students each from the school’s master-level programs in nursing and social work. The groups access the health needs of patients using information in the EHR and must communicate regularly about such issues as dementia, depression, falls and medication complications. The 15 group members then meet monthly to discuss their findings and get the chance to look at issues from the viewpoint of other team members.

The geriatric project is just one of many ways a tool such as a virtual EHR can be used. The AMA launched the platform to train medical students to use EHRs as part of its effort to build the medical school of the future.

The training tool was developed by Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University’s medical school with the help of a $1 million grant from the AMA. The intent is to help students use EHRs, which are now one of the primary tools physicians use in everyday practice.

“We can leverage technology to create learning opportunities for all types of students,” said Blaine Takesue, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at IU, who has taken the lead in introducing the platform there.