Electronic Medical Records/Information Technology

I tried searching the site but couldn’t get a return for this topic, so I am starting a new thread. Does anyone have experience in or heard anything about an EHR (Electronic Health Record)/IT background helping to get accepted to Med School? With the push in that direction and now Obama’s statements about EHRs I’m just curious what the response from Med Schools is or will be. Thanks.

EMRs (electronic medical records) a/k/a: EHRs are one of many current pushes in the industry whose focal points are increased pt safety, transferral of accurate pt info and ability to sustain an accurate AND portable medical record. I got my first hospital job as a Jr in HS in 1983 & heard then about the impending paperless medical record. Now, in 2008 - approaching 26 years in the future - the complete EMR remains akin to the “Holy Grail” for a plethora of reasons. The facility I work in now, Clarian Arnett Hospital damned near has a total EMR for both inpatients & outpatients. Unfortunately, even though we are very close to paperless - primarily paper remains in the arena of anesthesiology for reasons I won’t bore you with - we employ seperate & incompatible EMR platform for the in- vs. out-pt areas. In fact, the creators of the various EMR platforms intentionally write their code such that cross-platform utilization verges on impossible. One day, it will occur, but until then, EMRs’ portability & accessibility will be limited despite the inherent accuracy of the electronic format.

More germaine to your question, at least what I interpret as your implied question, being facile or even capable of authoring or managing EMRs will not even come close to giving you a leg-up when applying to med school. Don’t feel left out. Being an allied health professional (RTs & RNs) not only does not convey an advantage; but last time I say stats, that sub-demographic had the lowest acceptance rate vs. normal applicants.

In the most simple of terms:

  1. You MUST have the academic numbers needed to be competitive - no exceptions

  2. There is no magic combination of GPA/MCAT that guarantee an admission

  3. No amount of extra-curriciulars, healthcare experience or IT/healthcare time will offset academic shortcomings - period

  4. IF you have competitive academic numbers AND you have impressive extra-curriculars, healthcare experience or your IT background, it potentially can aide you, but that is not guaranteed. If you are applying to a hell-bent-on-research program, those things probably will not be advantageous. OTOH, if the program focuses more on people and the attributes of its classmembers, then those same attributes will help you.

Having some background in EMRs was occasionally something interesting for me to talk about at interviews, but I don’t think it was any significant help in getting me in. Just to add some anecdotal evidence to Dave’s thoughts.

Thank you both for your responses. Of course, one always hopes there is something unique that will help put you at the top of the list in addition to the standard, ‘no getting around’ those requirements that were mentioned. I am just starting on the marathon so I’ll make sure I follow the steps outlined above. As a side note, I do have a lot of experience with Cerner, and several other applications, including interfacing them together to make one “seamless” application . One of our employees came from Cerner Corp. and the site he supported was Clarian.

I also know that the nursing background is not a plus but I have been in it long enough for this to be a solid career change option and not appear to be jumping from nursing to medicine. I am very aware and respectful of the fact nursing and medicine have totally different foci. Thank you again for responding…I just wanted to see what the rumblings were.


I too have recently acquired “Cerner Experience”…as matter of fact, I have coined an entire lexicon of unflattering terminology for their “system”. LOL!

Actually, I have to begrudgingly admit, it is becoming less painful to use.

ROTFL! Yes…I know exactly what you mean! We in I/T have our own acronyms for many of Cerner’s products. Recently, I did a brief stint back at the bedside in ICU in one of our facilities and THE MOST CHALLENGING part of going back to the bedside was the documentation…in CERNER.

We have a group - Care Transformation - made up of ‘clinicians’ (i.e. read people who have not been at the bedside in a wile) designing how they think they want the system to work- based off of paper processes (sometimes bad paper processes). Initially they were guided by an outside consulting firm to do a rapid design for our first fully electronic hospital. It’s tough being on the cutting edge. Bringing I/T technology and clinical wishes for how an electronic system should work is extremely complex and given the situation and time frame to implementation did the best they could. The CT team thought they were lessening the cultural shift by trying to keep the electronic process similar to the paper process. Not always a good decision. Some things just don’t translate well, plus they take a poor paper process that wasn’t working, make it a poor electronic process that doesn’t work, and wonder why they have low compliance. Between our lack of experience with EHRs, the system design, and some of Cerner’s limitations there is a lot to be redone.

For integration across disciplines Cerner is one of the best out there. Some modules definitely need improvement i.e SurgiNet & especially Anesthesia integration to PowerChart. But overall, to look at a patient record across time, encounters, multiple facilties (including those in other states), and physician’s office data on a patient there are very few that are doing it as well as Cerner. Other systems rely on interfaces between stand alone systems. Interfaces have their own set of issues.

We do use this saying a lot which explains many of the issues within the system- “One of the best things about Cerner is, there are many ways to do things. One of the worst things about Cerner is, there are many ways to do things.”

The field is still ‘young’ even though it has been around for 20+ years. It really is just starting to come of age. I think we will see the technology and patient care processes evolve rapidly. It is exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing where things go and plan to stay involved in the techology piece as I continue this journey. I want to have a fuctional system to use when I get there.