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Implementation of Changes to Medical Student Documentation at Duke University Health System: Balancing Education With Service.

PURPOSE: When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) changed policies about medical student documentation, students with proper supervision may now document their history, physical exam, and medical decision making in the electronic health record (EHR) for billable encounters. Since documentation is a core entrustable professional activity for medical students, the authors sought to evaluate student opportunities for documentation and feedback across and between clerkships. METHOD: In February 2018, a multidisciplinary workgroup was formed to implement student documentation at Duke University Health System, including educating trainees and supervisors, tracking EHR usage, and enforcing CMS compliance. From August 2018 to August 2019, locations and types of student-involved services (student-faculty or student-resident-faculty) were tracked using billing data from attestation statements. Student end-of-clerkship evaluations included opportunity for documentation and receipt of feedback. Since documentation was not allowed before August 2018, it was not possible to compare with prior student experiences. RESULTS: In the first half of the academic year, 6,972 patient encounters were billed as student-involved services, 52% (n = 3,612) in the inpatient setting and 47% (n = 3,257) in the outpatient setting. Most (74%) of the inpatient encounters also involved residents, and most (92%) of outpatient encounters were student-teaching physician only.Approximately 90% of students indicated having had opportunity to document in the EHR across clerkships, except for procedure-based clerkships such as surgery and obstetrics. Receipt of feedback was present along with opportunity for documentation more than 85% of the time on services using evaluation and management coding. Most students (> 90%) viewed their documentation as having a moderate or high impact on patient care. CONCLUSIONS: Changes to student documentation were successfully implemented and adopted; changes met both compliance and education needs within the health system without resulting in potential abuses of student work for service.


Gagliardi, Jane P., Brian Bonanno, Eugenia R. McPeek Hinz, R Clayton Musser, Nancy W. Knudsen, Michael Palko, Felice McNair, Hui-Jie Lee, and Alison S. Clay. “Implementation of Changes to Medical Student Documentation at Duke University Health System: Balancing Education With Service.” Acad Med 96, no. 6 (June 1, 2021): 900–905.

Published Date: 
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Published In: 
Acad Med