Posts Tagged ‘medical students’

Guest Post: Will Millennial MDs Speed EMR Adoption?

December 4th, 2012 by Marialusa Curran

The tech-friendly tendancies of 'millenials' make them more likely to embrace EMRs.

A recent Commonwealth Study found that two-thirds of U.S. primary care doctors now use electronic medical records. But does a physician’s age influence the likelihood of EMR adoption? Guest blogger Marialuisa Curran, marketing manager for Elsevier’s Gold Standard, examines the habits of ‘millenials’ — individuals born between 1982 and 2002 — and their influence on EMR use.

As the U.S. healthcare system undergoes dramatic shifts and changes to accommodate a flood of new patients, hospitals, practices and physicians are all part of a widespread movement toward adopting electronic medical records (EMRs). Whether healthcare providers will immediately feel or see short-term benefits of EMR implementation is disputable. More certain are the differences among generations of practitioners in adopting health information technology (IT). The latest generation of healthcare providers could help speed and ease the shift to EMRs.

Veteran physicians, especially Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), are less likely to retool their practices, habits and personal technology use to implement EMRs. On the other end of the spectrum, the most recent additions to the healthcare provider workforce are the tech-savvy millennials, defined roughly as the generation born between 1982 and 2002, who thrive on multitasking and a team approach. Practitioners from all generations bring different skills and benefits to the healthcare arena. The influence of milliennials in the medical workforce, however, could have an impact on the long-term success of EMRs.

Educators in the medical industry have noted the differences in the millennial generation since these students started medical school. They sought different ways to engage these students and create an environment most conducive to learning. Millennials can generally be characterized as being team-oriented, confident and driven by achievement. They could also be categorized as the ‘trophy generation’ who feel entitled and were embraced by their parents.

Millennials are the first generation to grow up surrounded by computers, the Internet and handheld technology. They are generally quick to adopt new iterations and adapt to using new gadgets and tools easily in all aspects of their lives.

So how does this translate to health IT?

  • Media adoption early on. While millennials may be less likely to adopt traditional academic literacy, they have increased media literacy and are adept at employing various modalities in retaining and communicating information. Millennials are more likely to embrace mobile applications and become frustrated with old methods of recording and storing medical records and information.

  • Collaboration. This generation is more likely to thrive in a collaborative environment that relies on teamwork for success, as opposed to gaining a competitive edge. They may be more naturally drawn to larger practices that not only take a team approach to care, but to a larger practice’s ability to support and quickly implement the most recent EMR software or updates.
  • Ability to multitask. A major concern among healthcare providers and critics of EMR has been the ability for practitioners to keep encounters patient-centered while also managing and inputting digital data. For better or for worse, this generation grew up multitasking, as they were inundated with an increasing amounts of media beginning at young age, including television, video games, computers and the Internet, and mobile phone use and text messaging. While their past experience can’t predict their successes using EMR, they may positively benefit from early exposure to multitasking.

Technology is rapidly changing almost every aspect of our world today, and healthcare is no exception. Electronic medical records are just one tool available to healthcare practitioners that aims to improve communication, decision making, and sharing of information.

Elsevier’s Gold Standard is a key part of Elsevier Clinical Decision Support, building on a rich, 150-year history of fusing technology and content solutions to push professionals and the healthcare industry toward higher quality and better patient outcomes.

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