I spent my Princeternship at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Long Island, New York. For three days, I shadowed Dr. Mitchell Adler ’73, Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO) of the Medical Group. He is in charge of the AEHR, the ambulatory electronic health record system, which the health system has been implementing in accordance with a national initiative encouraging the use of electronic health records
When I arrived at Dr. Adler’s Manhasset office on my first day, he explained some important concepts that would be relevant during the next three days, like the EHR and the health system’s network security, as well as the idea of PHI – private health information – and the increasing importance, given today’s technological advancements, of preserving patient confidentiality. He also had a lot of interesting things to say about the healthcare sector and its significance in today’s economy.
The first day involved quite a few meetings, including a teleconference about extending the electronic records system to the Staten Island network. Dr. Adler also met with the developers of a particular interface to see how it could be made to work with the software that the records system currently uses. I started to appreciate the level of behind-the-scenes detail and work involved in maintaining, improving, and expanding a health system, and what a complicated process was entailed by the implementation of the EHR itself. Improvements of every magnitude are continuously sought as I realized, for example, one of Dr. Adler’s tasks during the time I was there was to incorporate a new form into the records system.
The next day proved to me once more the versatility of Dr. Adler’s job. We attended a meeting about organizing the filming of an instructional video for doctors, and then I sat in on a meeting with the health information management supervisor. Afterwards, we went to a different office in the health system and met with all the other CMIOs and their head for a regular discussion of current projects and developments. One topic raised that I found interesting was the availability of information to the parents of adolescent patients for procedures not requiring parental consent. My favorite part of the day was the following ethics meeting at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where the ethics committee discussed two confidential end-of-life cases and issues like hospice, transfer, and mental capacity.
The last day, I came in late because Dr. Adler had been meeting with the Joint Commission, a national not-for-profit that inspects hospitals and evaluates various elements of the care provided, like waiting times, amount of radiation in CT scans, &c. When I arrived, he filled me in on the meeting, and we talked a little about the expansion of ambulatory care relative to inpatient care. Afterwards, I got to see the EHR in use and watch residents present their cases to Dr. Adler and several others, which was one of the highlights of my experience.
Overall, I thought this Princeternship was a great opportunity. Even though the medical and administrative jargon was a little hard to follow at times, these three days gave me insight into what I hope to be doing in the future and exposed me to new aspects of health care that I had never considered. I am very grateful to Dr. Adler for taking the time and effort to arrange this opportunity, and I would recommend this to anyone considering a future in health care.