Background : Physicians spend twice as much time using electronic health records (EHRs) as speaking with patients. Unoptimized EHR use or implementation puts providers at risk for inefficiency, medication error, and burnout. Thus, formalized training in informatics during residency - specifically in EHR design and optimization - has the potential to provide a unique educational opportunity for residents while providing real world value for our patients and providers.
Objective : We will describe our experience starting a residency informatics track at the University of Michigan's EM residency. While doing so, we will provide a framework for other programs looking to provide similar opportunities for residents. Specifically, we will address concerns about funding, formal training programs, project selection, and interfacing with IT.
Methods : We recruited residents who expressed interest in informatics either through prior experiences or through curiosity in the field. Prior to securing funding, we approached our operations team to find projects where track residents could contribute. We supervised residents applying for funding via internal grants and IT funding sources based on educational benefit and departmental needs. Residents participated in formal training through our EHR vendor. We then supervised the creation and assessment of several informatics interventions.
Outcomes : We secured funding for five ED residents to undergo EHR vendor training. As a result of this training and the support by our group and our IT infrastructure, our residents have been able to optimize several EHR tasks, including: procedural ordering (paracentesis), management of acute liver failure, and ultrasound workflow management. Our interventions have been shown to improve task speed, accuracy, and ease-of-entry in residents, physician assistants, and faculty.