Background: The emergence and widespread use of electronic medical records (EMRs) enables the collection of a large amount of clinical data. However, there is currently little understanding of how this data can be utilised to enhance practice-based learning and improvement. The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility and acceptability of using EMR data to personalise an online professional development program for junior oncology doctors.
Method: A mixed methodology was used to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of an EMR data driven professional development program. During the intervention period a bi-weekly report was extracted from the pathology EMR identifying whether participants had a clinical encounter aligned with the program. The program consisted of 12 clinical scenarios built around three relevant quality and safety topics: (1) Test Ordering, (2) Interpreting Test Results, and (3) Patient Management. Participants received the triggered clinical scenarios and multiple choice questions for the five-week intervention period via the online QStream platform. At the conclusion of the intervention an evaluation was undertaken via an online survey.
Findings: Five junior oncology doctors participated in the program. Analysis of EMR data showed that participants triggered an average of two clinical scenarios for every bi-weekly data extract. All survey respondents either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement that “the scenarios and questions in the program felt linked to their clinical practice”, and with the statement that “the program felt engaging because it used clinical data relevant to their organisation.”
Conclusions: The use of EMR data to personalise a professional development program for junior oncology doctors is feasible and acceptable and presents a promising opportunity to increase engagement in professional development. Further research on other types of electronic data that actively engages health professionals in personalised learning opportunities could lead to improved behaviour change.