Pharmacy faculty are using an innovative EHR that gives students more than an education, it gives them practice. With this new applied teaching tool, students are no longer handed a paper case with a paragraph synopsis, but must search the educational medical record, read notes, look at lab work and piece the patient puzzle together. Cases become as multifaceted as individuals and the material resonates with students because it circles back to why they chose pharmacy—to help people.
This learning platform, called EHR Go, is used in all years of pharmacy education as a hands-on teaching tool. “It’s like a virtual grand rounds every day in pharmacy class,” said Kathleen Annala, CEO and President of Archetype Innovations, LLC, creators of EHR Go. Students work up diverse patient cases. Photographs bring patients to life and give students the sensation, ‘This is a real person.’ Faculty can be creative with their teaching and the platform helps them personalize care simulations.
As a professor, Annala saw her students were always looking for that human connection. She wove her experience as a nurse into her lessons, not just teaching the physiology of a burn, per se, but sharing the story of a little boy in the foster care system who got burned playing with a barbeque lighter. “When you bring that holistic way of seeing the world into the classroom, it makes the content go from dry and clinical to a very human, understandable experience where the numbers matter because this little boy is in pain,” Annala said. “Students immediately take the case more seriously, they start engaging with the material, and when done through EHR Go, it becomes all the more realistic.”
Educational EHRs have elevated case-based learning and Annala has played a part in its progression since its conception. She moved into education early on in her nursing career and because she was young, it was presumed she was a technology whiz. Nearly 20 years ago, she was handed a project to bring a computerized electronic health record system into the curricula for healthcare students. She saw the vision for EHR Go then, she saw the educational EHR should be the center of case-based learning and interprofessional education, just as a person should be the center of a case study.
Barriers—institutional, technological and financial — stopped Annala’s vision from fully coming to fruition while she was a teaching faculty. In 2008, she took a leap with her business partner and husband, Don Annala, to create the ultimate educational EHR, the one she originally envisioned, the one that has evolved into EHR Go, the only educational EHR tailored to pharmacy and interprofessional education.
“Where EHR education began was to teach the EHR as a technology itself without cases. I think that’s the wrong direction, it’s the direction a lot of our competitors still use, I just don’t think it’s the right direction for students because it puts the focus on technology when the focus should be on patients and care,” Kathleen Annala said. “We believe the student learns the healthcare technology innately, through regular interaction with patient information. Learning course content through the EHR, the student becomes an EHR native. That’s why we created EHR Go, to make a system that lends itself to maintaining case information, creating case information and using case information, that’s what was missing.”