The Electronic Health Record Objective Structured Clinical Examination: Assessing Student Competency in Patient Interactions While Using the Electronic Health Record


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Abstract

ProblemBecause many medical students do not have access to electronic health records (EHRs) in the clinical environment, simulated EHR training is necessary. Explicitly training medical students to use EHRs appropriately during patient encounters equips them to engage patients while also attending to the accuracy of the record and contributing to a culture of information safety.ApproachFaculty developed and successfully implemented an EHR objective structured clinical examination (EHR-OSCE) for clerkship students at two institutions. The EHR-OSCE objectives include assessing EHR-related communication and data management skills.OutcomesThe authors collected performance data for students (n = 71) at the first institution during academic years 2011–2013 and for students (n = 211) at the second institution during academic year 2013–2014. EHR-OSCE assessment checklist scores showed that students performed well in EHR-related communication tasks, such as maintaining eye contact and stopping all computer work when the patient expresses worry. Findings indicated student EHR skill deficiencies in the areas of EHR data management including medical history review, medication reconciliation, and allergy reconciliation. Most students’ EHR skills failed to improve as the year progressed, suggesting that they did not gain the EHR training and experience they need in clinics and hospitals.Next StepsCross-institutional data comparisons will help determine whether differences in curricula affect students’ EHR skills. National and institutional policies and faculty development are needed to ensure that students receive adequate EHR education, including hands-on experience in the clinic as well as simulated EHR practice.

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