How many medical students use EHRs for tracking patients?

A former medical student might be using an EHR to track you, findings from a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine show.

To conduct the study, researchers Gregory Brisson, MD, and Patrick Tyler, MD, selected 169 fourth-year medical students at an academic health center in 2013. The students had each completed 48 weeks of clinical clerkships during their third year of schooling. Dr. Brisson and Dr. Tyler gave the medical students a seven-question survey regarding tracking patients via EHRs and whether it is ethical.

Here are five things to know about the study's findings.

1. One hundred three students students responded to the survey.

2. Of these 103 respondents, 99 students — or 96.1 percent — said they used EHRs to track their previous patients.

3. Ninety-two of these trackers said they found tracking patients educationally beneficial. They claimed they tracked patients for various reasons, including following up to confirm their diagnosis, following up on the patient's treatment progress and simply because they liked the patient and were eager to learn what he or she was up to.

The students learned to track their patients through various means, including their own ambition (54 percent), house staff (13 percent), their peers (5 percent), attending physicians (2 percent), upperclassmen (2 percent), multiple influencers (20 percent) or other (1 percent).

4. Seventeen of the 99 students who tracked patients said they had ethical concerns about doing so. Their main ethical concern was that it wasn't appropriate to track their patients because they weren't clinically involved with them anymore.

5. In a follow-up JAMA Internal Medicine article, Rachel Stern, MD, said although there are learning benefits to patient tracking, there are two key problems with doing so. "First, patients do not explicitly provide consent to be tracked after their care ends" and "[s]econd, some tracking is extracurricular."

More articles on health IT:
More MEDITECH customers sign on for new web-based EHR
Athens Orthopedic Clinic reports data breach
Nearly half of employers offered telemedicine benefits in 2015 

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months