Analyzing data at the population health level is expected to deliver numerous insights into how to help specific patient cohorts, but the Indiana University School of Medicine is using the technique to help med students understand and navigate the complexities of providing healthcare to geriatric patients.
According to an article at AMA Wire, 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. The program helps residents develop facility with EHRs while also giving them 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.
“To say that we don’t pay enough attention to the health care of seniors is an understatement,” said Kathy Frank, RN, PhD, the program administrator of the geriatrics program at IU’s medical school and part of the team involved in the project. She said the focus on elder care is more warranted than ever before.
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.