Preparations for medical school are no joke. In order to simply prepare (and be a competitive candidate) you need a strong academic background in biology and chemistry as well as supplementary courses such as psychology, physics, environmental health, etc. Performing at the top of the class is difficult enough, but there are other considerations to take into account including volunteer hours, independent projects, and MCAT studying.
Amidst all of these preparations for medical school you still may have forgotten something. You many not have even considered the growing importance of electronic data management within the healthcare profession. Sure, adding one more thing to your already very full plate may seem like insanity (why not – this is what you signed up for) but understanding the electronic healthcare model will push you a step ahead and into the future of modern medicine.
Wait… Why Electronic Health Records?
Electronic health records (EHR) and data management is essentially the digitization of all patient notes and diagnostics. Rather than taking notes with pen and paper and depending upon nurses to translate (sorry, no need to practice your illegible signature) all notes are moving to a digital format. Doing so makes transferring prescriptions and other notes to different specialists quicker with a lower chance of errors – electronic health records are expected to lower costs significantly once they are fully in place.
Learning how to work with EHR is inevitable as the federal government has included its implementation as part of the Affordable Care Act. Between 2010 and 2011 the number of EHRs in hospitals nationwide grew 82 percent – a number that is expected to continue to rise. Both doctors and nurses will greatly benefit from a general understanding before their first day of clinicals.
Not to be Learned on the Job
You may wonder why electronic data management is worth taking the extra time to learn in advance of medical school. Will it really provide that large of a step ahead? In short, yes.
The majority of hospitals are struggling with EHR implementation primarily as a result of a lack of staff training. Getting all of their doctors and nurses up to speed comes at a huge cost of both time and money for them. The average healthcare provider needs between 24 and 52 hours of training to utilize the programs fully, which comes at a dollar value of $1,500 to $2,800 per physician.
Needless to say, hospitals are interested in hiring professionals they don’t need to provide additional training to. Coming to the floor prepared with EHR knowledge will give you a large advantage over others who haven’t taken the time to master the inner workings of electronic health record systems.
Sign Me Up
A number of universities are already trying to address the issue of students needing medical technology skills but not having the time to take the necessary courses. Schools such as the University of Cincinnati Nursing Program have integrated Ipads into the classroom, which has been received with great enthusiasm. Students are able to do their normal coursework and using mobile applications and interfaces that doctors and nurses are likely to see within the hospital setting.
Taking advantage of these types of learning opportunities when they arise is a great way to make sure you are on the up and up when it comes to medical school applications. Having any sort of additional training or background that sets you apart and makes you more acceptable than other applicants is a wonderful boost, but having extremely applicable skills that are becoming major factor in the healthcare industry gives you the upper hand. Healthcare data management is a profound knowledge set to have.