Northern Kentucky University is introducing electronic medical record (EMRs) software into its health informatics and nursing curricula. NKU has successfully implemented ClinNext, a fully certified hospital information system and EMR through a joint educational partnership between Grupo Hima San Pablo, Southern Strategic Assets and Resources, ClinNext and NKU.
The NKU colleges of informatics and health professions have developed and are offering hands-on EMR exercises and experience to their students on ClinNext. The goal is to provide students with a basic EMR skill set in the context of their informatics and nursing education that will prepare the student for today’s health care careers, on a system that is operating in a fully functioning health care environment.
Students will take on every role inside a health organization and learn hands-on what the EMR software can do. They will logon to the software as physicians, nurses, front desk staff and other medical personnel to understand the responsibilities, challenges and importance of each particular role in a medical office. Further, the students will be able to use the software in the role of administrator to see how to best configure the software for the real world. Finally, students will be able to access practice data and work to develop healthcare analytics such as dashboards and scorecards with the software. Students will learn how to use the software as a tool to improve the management and delivery of health care and will also be instrumental in shaping the strategic plan of the software development into the future.
The partnership goes further than a simple software installation. The introduction of the ClinNext EMR is a fundamental learning environment for students looking to work in the health care industry. The understanding of the work processes and information flows for health care are essential to working effectively in this area. “The EMR exercises will provide a deeper level of learning for the health informatics students,” says Pam Atkinson, the program coordinator who first contacted ClinNext about the idea for the educational partnership.
“The educational environment is a wonderful place for us to test and fine tune our software,” adds Giovanni A. Piereschi, executive vice president of Grupo Hima, the largest healthcare system in Puerto Rico with 800 physicians and 1100 beds in four hospitals across the island. Grupo HIMA was the initial developer and designer of ClinNet and ClinNext software and is its longest-standing user. Over the past 15 years the hospital has been integral to the development of ClinNext. One of the key components to Grupo’s success is the ongoing success of the software it develops and uses.
The educational partnership will provide NKU students access to the software as part of their curricula. In addition, the NKU environment will provide multiple research projects in software development. For example, as students work to learn the software, researchers can make suggestions for better interface designs – ones that could make the software’s use more efficient. Other potential student projects include looking at desensitized data to develop possible analytics or reviewing the database design for possible HIPAA security exposures.
In total, the partnership truly demonstrates an educational environment where students work on real world issues, obtain real world experience and learn at a deeper level.
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