Using electronic patient records: defining learning outcomes for undergraduate education

Sarah Pontefract, K. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
263 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Healthcare professionals are required to access, interpret and generate patient data in the digital environment, and use this information to deliver and optimise patient care. Healthcare students are rarely exposed to the technology, or given the opportunity to use this during their training, which can impact on the digital competence of the graduating workforce. In this study we set out to develop and define domains of competence and associated learning outcomes needed by healthcare graduates to commence working in a digital healthcare environment.

Method: A National Working Group was established in the UK to integrate Electronic Patient Records (EPRs) into undergraduate education for healthcare students studying medicine, pharmacy, nursing and midwifery. The working group, comprising 12 academic institutions and representatives from NHS England, NHS Digital and EPR system providers, met to discuss and document key learning outcomes required for using EPRs in the healthcare environment. Outcomes were grouped into six key domains and refined by the group prior
to external review by experts working in medical education or with EPRs.

Results: Six key domains of competence and associated learning outcomes were identified and defined. External expert review provided iterative refinement and amendment. The agreed domains were: 1) Digital Health: work as a practitioner in the digital healthcare environment; 2) Accessing Data: access and interpret patient data to inform clinical decision-making; 3) Communication: communicate effectively with healthcare professionals and patients in the digital environment; 4) Generating data: generate data for and about patients within the EPR; 5) Multidisciplinary working: work with healthcare professionals with and alongside EPRs; and 6) Monitoring and audit: monitor and improve the quality and safety of healthcare.

Conclusion: The six domains of competence and associated learning outcomes can be used by academics to guide the integration of EPRs into undergraduate healthcare programmes. This is key to ensuring that the future healthcare workforce can work with and alongside EPRs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Pages (from-to)30
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2019


  • medical education
  • undergraduate
  • electronic patient record
  • electronic prescribing


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