We don’t think much about how a fine timepiece works. There are many intricate, complex, and small moving parts. Each with a purpose to keep time accurate and moving forward. The tEMR team recently completed our latest upgrades for the Teaching EMR. This application release was one that we are ALL excited to share with the Teaching EMR community and the future users of the tool. We released the updates to the application last Friday, April 22nd, and it was worth the wait.

List of essential items in the latest upgrade:

  • Natural Language Processing
  • User Management
    • Users
    • Classes
    • Bulk User/Class Import
  • Curriculum Management
    • Courses and Lessons
    • Patient Locator (RPG)
    • Rule Authoring (RAVE)

It’s Natural: NLP inside tEMR

I won’t get into the weeds too much on this post, but our order entry system is S-M-A-R-T, smart. Most of us have used Amazon before to make a purchase. Do you ever wonder how Amazon knows to make the recommendations that it does for complimentary products? It is a sophisticated natural language processing engine that is trying to understand how to match your words and activities best in the browser on their site with your intent to research and make a purchase. They do a tremendous job at this on their site.

We have turned on our natural language processing engine developed here at the Regenstrief Institute to suggest orders based on an entered note as an example. If a student user where to type something in their notes like, “We should have the patient take aspirin and have a CBC, but no warfarin.” the application builds a list on the right-hand navigation of possible orders for drugs and tests based on the information in the note. The provider can click the blood cell profile and differential link that will navigate the user to completing the order for the test. That is really cool in my opinion!

You are not likely to have these intuitive prompts in many of your applications. This use of NLP is merely the tip of the iceberg of how we can prompt and alert future medical providers in our application. In fact, we have implemented our rules engine as well in the release (RAVE) which allows non-programmers to create and manage CDS rules and alerts quickly inside the Teaching EMR. Have you ever had that kind of power within your current commercial EMR? Regenstrief has been innovating since we developed one of the first EMRs back in the 1970’s and the tradition lives on in my tEMR team.

User First: User Management

It may seem like a no-brainer, but part of our initial implementation for our “Early Adopters” for health professions education programs was our team would handle user and class set-up in the application. We did not offer user management tools in the web app when I joined the team back in June. It was on the roadmap, but the focus was onboarding and support of Indiana University for the grant.

I’m rather excited that we have designed, developed, tested, and now published some very elegant solutions for administrators of tEMR to use to add students from their program and create classes in the app. We are always thinking users first. As the software product manager on our program, I know how hard the team has worked to ensure that the current and future administrative users will have a clean and crisp user experience managing their potentially significant volume of users and classes in the system over time.

If you are not a developer, then you have probably never used a code editor. I will share this; most applications tend to look like code editors because that is what a developer spends 90% of their days in, so it is familiar. We are trying to get away from that feeling, but sometimes simple navigation works. Ken Spry is our exceptional UI/UX designer here at the institute that has helped us maintain the consistency and the economical use of on-screen real estate in the application to promote higher user efficiency and ultimately their satisfaction with tEMR. His favorite playground to code in is at codepen.io. Check out some of his public contributions to the front-end web because Ken is an innovator and thought leader in the healthcare IT at the Regenstrief Institute.

Faculty & Student Users

As an administrator, you want and need to be focused on the curriculum for students and not the tasks around set-up of courses, classes, and finding patients in the application. The effort should be minimal at best to administer adding and managing students in your SaaS app. We have done that in tEMR.

The user import can be done one-by-one or in bulk. In our discussion with users and potential users of the application, we learned that they would like a both a mass import function that integrates with existing systems and the ability to add and administer individual users as needed. We certainly have plans to make the connections with other applications as we learn the needs of more programs that wish to use the Teaching EMR application. We have created the building blocks for these integrations and have created an interim solution for bulk imports into tEMR that is fast and easy.

In Class: Curriculum Management

Courses and Lessons

No program administration tool is complete without a method for organizing the courses and lessons that our users develop for their curriculum. We designed the interface with the end-user experience in mind. Programs will have many courses and lessons to manage using the tEMR. As an example, Indiana University’s School of Medicine has M2’s using the application for their foundations in clinical medicine class. They had 12 lessons inside that course that their 9┬ácampus locations taught for the 350 students and educators. Each lesson used different patients that were organized by patient groups. Complex, right?

These will be considerations for administrators to make when developing their curriculum using the Teaching EMR that we have help organized in the system (course, lesson, patient group, patient). Ken and our team have laid out a powerful, visual, and functional solution to this complex opportunity for educators and administrators. We hope that you get the chance to use it setting up courses in your program.

Patient Administration

I talked about the issue of patient creation in an earlier post here. So, I won’t spend much time discussing why this is such a valuable addition to the Teaching EMR. The Regenstrief Patient List Generator, affectionately branded as RPG, is fully integrated into the application. It is an application that RI has sold to health systems, pharma companies, and other organizations that are looking for tools to identify populations of patients within their systems. We could not be more excited about adding it to the tEMR for our academic partners.

It allows educators and administrators to search the database of misidentified patients inside the application. Those patient(s) records can quickly be reviewed for relevance to curriculum and then assigned to courses, classes, groups, and students all inside the administrator toolkit.

What’s Next?

We are already working on some great new features for our next release that we hope to be sharing with you soon. Please, signup to hear from our Teaching EMR team and get the latest new from the community of bringing technology-enhanced solutions, healthcare delivery science and informatics to academic programs for health professions education.

What would you like to see in our next release?

Your partner keeping time and moving forward health professions education,
Brian Stout
Sr. Product Manager
Regenstrief Institute’s Clem McDonald Center for Biomedical Informatics (CBMI)