I had spent over two years reviewing EHR systems that were available for education and specifically for simulation. The features we were looking for where very different than the ones we would need in a real clinical environment. The major challenges we needed to overcome where finding software with the feel of a real EHR but would allow the flexibility to work in "simulated time”. We also wanted to find a system that was user friendly so that faculty and students could be easily trained. We believe that learning a specific software should not take all the time allocated for a simulation exercise; this would frustrate student, faculty, and would defeat the original purpose of a simulation exercise.
In July, 2014, MedAffinity installed its electronic health records software, MedAffinity EHR, on computer workstations in simulation rooms at TCC's Ghazvini Cenetr for Healthcare Education. The first two programs that used MedAffinity EHR during simulations were Nursing and Respiratory care. Because these two programs most readily embraced simulation and wanted to see how this new technology was going to be welcomed by faculty, students and simulation staff. The response we received from faculty and staff was overwhelmingly positive. It took 15 minutes to train them on the basic navigation of the system. Faculty were able to input new "Physician Orders” during the simulations that would automatically populate in the patient's charts for students to access. It gave us so much flexibility to be able to make changes "on the fly” as happens in the hospital setting.
Since the initial implementation, we have been adding new scenarios to the database. This has allowed us to keep all the scenarios we need during the semester readily available to be used at any given time, therefore minimizing the amount of time simulation staff need to spend looking through charts and trying to find the correct scenario. The feedback we have received from the students has been very positive as well. Students liked how user friendly the software is and also they enjoyed being able to experience a real EHR that has been tailored for education. Students no longer carry bits of paper around with orders written on them and so their experience is even more realistic. We believe that the experience the students receive at TCC's simulation Center should be similar to the real world they will encounter as soon as they graduate and join the workforce.
We are currently close to start our third semester using MedAffinity's EHR. The original plan was to implement the nursing program's piece over 4 semesters, but they will complete implementation in three semesters. The features this EHR has that we have found to be most valuable for its usage in education and specifically in simulation are:
1.The EHR interface is organized to allow the entire patient's information to be accessible to the students on a single screen. There is no need to go over tabs and different windows to be able to find the information needed.
2.The system is flexible and allows the creation of templates tailored to your programs or institution. Templates can be created in minutes and can be saved for future use. The system also allows importing PDF files and saving them as templates.
3.Entering notes in the system is as easy as typing a word document.
4.The system allows resetting patient charts at the end of simulation exercises. After the simulation exercise ends, simulation staff can easily reset the patient's chart to the original state.
5.The system generates a patient arm band that can be scanned for patient verification purposes.
6.The medication administration record (MAR) is integrated with a scanner system so that students can administer medications and confirm patient identity.
Implementing MedAffinity's EHR in our simulation center has been one of the smoothest adoptions we have undergone in our center. MedAffinity has enhanced the student's experience by providing them with another tool to make simulated patient care more realistic and a better learning tool. It has also given the simulation staff and faculty the prefect flexible tool to teach students, digitally manage the simulation's library and minimize prep time.
Simulation Program Manager
Tallahassee Community College