MedAffinity Electronic Health Records and Education: Keeping the Focus on Learning Healthcare
Article Contributed by Thomas J. Doyle, MSN, RN
An Electronic Health Record (EHR) that works in education, specifically in simulation, has long been a dream of mine. In my nearly ten year quest for a simulated EHR when I was the Chief Learning Officer for Medical Education Technologies, Inc. (METI), now known as CAE Healthcare, I was not successful. Numerous issues with the various solutions out there surfaced. The “real” EHR systems used in the hospital could not deal with the concept of “simulation time.” Those systems documented everything in “real time.” Thus when trying to simulate a patient care episode spanning several hours in a much shorter time period was not possible to document using a “real” EHR. Other systems touted as being specifically designed for use in simulated environments were either too simplistic or extremely complex. Additionally, many solutions were too costly which is an ongoing concern in academia. Finally, and what I consider to be the biggest hindrance to these solutions, is that they contained no patient cases and faculty would have to manually enter data. As a former Professor of Nursing I knew this was not going to happen.
In November of 2014 at the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN) conference in Saint Louis, MO, I found what I believe to be the solution: MedAffinity’s EHR for Education! MedAffinity EHR for Education is designed to make the documentation process feel as natural as possible, with an interface that looks, acts, and feels like a real document. Because MedAffinity’s document-style interface presents all of the information on a single screen, students can focus on learning patient care within a certified EHR instead of spending time navigating through a multi-screen, complicated system. Designed for providers resistant to the one-size-fits-all mentality of most EHRs, MedAffinity easily adapts to new curriculum needs without delays, costly upgrades, or additional custom configuration associated with other common alternatives. I find the user interface (UI) user friendly and one can quickly learn how to navigate through the software.
Capabilities of the MedAffinity EHR for Education include the following:
- Documentation: Your documentation, their system. One can configure MedAffinity to meet the needs of the faculty by placing their existing document-style materials right into their system. MedAffinity adapts to new curriculum content, ideas, and standards, which means our EHR does not dictate the way your faculty teach.
- Summarize Simulation Information: The MedAffinity Summary allows students to dive right into learning by making it easy to view the information they need to see. Students do not need to waste time searching for a piece of information—instead they simply glance over the patient’s summary boxes, or roll their mouse over documents in the chart to immediately view any particular item in its entirety.
- Search and Retrieve: MedAffinity features robust documentation retrieval and search functions, which allow faculty to quickly review documentation authored by students. But MedAffinity’s administrative overview functionality does not end there—faculty may search for documents authored within a particular date range in a particular course, authored by a particular student, and containing particular criteria.
I also found MedAffinity’s EHR to be rich in features. All of these were on “my wish list” when searching for a solution to be used in simulation. Features include but are not limited to:
- “Save As:” Create or modify templates in minutes, without writing a single line of code. Create templates containing both medical data like vitals or management codes, as well as non-medical information: guidelines on how to complete certain tasks, images and illustrations, and even notes from faculty to reinforce classroom instruction. Because an educational EHR should not dictate the way your faculty teach.
- Template Creation: Import PDF: Create fully formatted templates straight from PDFs. This system allows you to place pre-existing formatted documentation into your educational EHR and have it seamlessly appear in template categories alongside interactive templates. MedAffinity makes it easy to select your PDF and save it as a template in just a few simple steps. With many healthcare programs having purchased simulated clinical experience content or created their own, the educational EHR should make it easy to display and distribute this educational content.
- Chart Summary Note Preview: Move the mouse over any document in a patient chart to see an instantaneous, complete preview of that full note document. Students will begin using MedAffinity EHR to view simulation materials with close to zero initial training. This is important because an educational EHR should not get in the way of students learning how to care for people.
- Simulation Chart Reset: After a simulation session is completed, simulation administrators can quickly and easily reset the simulation patient chart back to its original state. This is a huge market-changing feature because your on-staff simulation administrators and technical support should not waste time manually deleting data after each session.
Tallahassee Community College (Florida) is MedAffinity’s launch customer. I had the pleasure of speaking with Carla I. Dormeus, MS, EMT who is the Simulation Program Manager in the Healthcare Professions Division about their experience. She had the following to say, “It has been redesigned specifically for simulation which makes running simulation experiences much easier and specifically they sought input from people doing simulation. It has saved us a lot of time when building our simulations as we can create our own library of content that can be used over and over again.” She agreed with me that having experience with electronic health records would benefit students as they look for jobs after graduation. “That’s what they are going to encounter when they go to any hospital or doctor’s office. Every place healthcare is delivered is going to go to electronic documentation. The more we expose them to what they will encounter in the real world, the better.” I could not agree more with her statement!
Learn more at http://www.medaffinity.com/education/simulation
Thomas J. Doyle is President & CEO of SimOne Healthcare Consultants, LLC, a company focused on assisting its customers with the use of various educational technology solutions. He has 35 years of experience in healthcare, 18 of those being involved in high fidelity patient simulation. Visit the company’s website at SimOnehcc.com.