First-year students test-drive electronic medical recording system

Photo of a female physician reviewing information on a tablet.

Innovative program exposes aspiring doctors to important new health care tool

Release Date: January 7, 2020

“Our hope is that by the time students enter their third year they will be quite facile with the EMR. We even expect they will be offering insights to their attending physicians and administrators. ”
Andrew Symons, vice chair for medical student education
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — An innovative collaborative training program is giving first-year medical students in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo their first hands-on experience using an electronic medical recording (EMR) system, a critical tool in modern health care.

The groundbreaking collaboration between the Jacobs School, the Great Lakes Integrated Medical Record (GLIMR) and Cerner Corporation is possibly the only program of its kind in the United States.

Approximately 180 students were exposed to the recording system during an interactive demonstration in October.

“Documentation of the clinical encounter is an important skill for the student physician,” said Andrew Symons, MD, MS, vice chair for medical student education in the Department of Family Medicine at the Jacobs School and director of the first-year clinical skills course.

“When students begin clinical rotations in the third year of medical school, they all need to utilize an EMR,” said Symons, who is also a physician with UBMD Family Medicine. “As our community more widely adopts GLIMR, students will be using the system in most of their inpatient and outpatient clinical rotations.”

Before the program was implemented, students wrote up their clinical encounters using Microsoft Word, and then submitted their reports to seminar leaders for review, Symons said.

Now, students record their patient encounters in the Cerner EMR educational domain, and forward the note to their seminar group leader, “much the way residents forward notes to the attending physician,” he said.

The October demonstration, which covered chart review and documentation in the electronic system, was led by Cerner’s Senior Learning Consultant Davis Shao.

Thirty-five of the medical students signed up to become “super users” to support their peers. According to Symons, this “very engaged” group of super users has been helping to work out some technical issues regarding student access to the system, Symons said.

Although the program is still in the roll-out stage, Symons anticipates having first-year students use the system beginning with the spring 2020 semester.

“Our hope is that by the time students enter their third year they will be quite facile with the EMR,” Symons said. “We even expect they will be offering insights to their attending physicians and administrators.”

Great Lakes Health System of Western New York is the GLIMR planning entity comprised of Kaleida Health, the University at Buffalo, ECMC and The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care.

Kaleida Health began rolling out the GLIMR system in February 2019. When complete, the multiyear project will result in a single record that will document a patient’s entire medical history in single, consistent digital format.

Cerner is a U.S.-based, multinational company that provides health information technology software, services, devices, and hardware to medical practices, long-term care facilities, retail pharmacies, and laboratories.

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Barbara Branning
Media Relations
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