Breaking an Electronic Health Record System: a sandbox workshop


The overall objective is to give librarians an opportunity to "touch and feel" the functionality of a certified electronic health record system (EHR-S) in a "safe harbor" demonstration environment. Because many health sciences librarians are currently excluded from accessing their institutional electronic health record system (EHR-S) on an operational, day-to-day basis, this class provides that opportunity, albeit in a “practice” environment.

EHRs are crucial building blocks in the formation of an encrypted national health information network. This is a key reason why health sciences librarians continue to be engaged in important EHR supporting roles within their respective institutions with regard to planning, deployment and even optimization efforts. Now is the time to start evaluating and identifying strategies of how health sciences librarians can best contribute to the value of an EHR from a daily operations, patient care perspective.


Throughout different EHR dashboards and modules, librarians will experience simulated patient care data, usability and design factors, navigation capabilities and meaningful use criteria including the one that deals with the provision of patient education. This course also provides an understanding and sensitivity of the rigorous training that librarians’ customers undergo in order to be proficient in the EHR-S, while providing optimal patient care.

This course will access an EHR-S via actual use in a demo environment. Through guided instruction, lecture and videos, students will create practice authentication that will enable them to access and experiment with the functionality of a certified EHR-S. Practice system exercises include dashboard components such as charting, custom texts, adding/registering a new patient, alerts/warnings, medication reconciliation, patient scheduling, meaningful use and billing. From a clinical encounter perspective, there will be sufficient "sandbox" time to enter appropriate ICD-9 diagnosis codes and/or diagnosed health conditions, treatment plans and patient education information (via NLM’s MedlinePlus Connect query process), into the clinical narrative (SOAP Note) of a fictitious patient, as a "physician user".


  1. Short Videos: 1HR
    1. Instructional videos explain and support the EHR dashboard component that students will practice with during the sandbox time
  2. Article by: Margalit Gur-Arie – 20MIN
  3. Computer sandbox time: 2HRS
  4. Discussion: 20MIN
  5. Instruction: 20MIN

Course Materials


Class requires a computer lab work environment with high-speed Internet access so that students can use the EHR-S at their own pace and according to their own needs.  Students are encouraged to bring a personal set of earbuds for audio listening. Instructor workstation also requires high-speed Internet access, audio/sound capability and overhead projection equipment.

Continuing Education

Upon successful completion of this class, each participant will receive 4 hours of continuing education credit awarded by the Medical Library Association (MLA). Certificates will be delivered electronically.


Breaking an Electronic Health Record System: a sandbox workshop

Pacific Northwest Region

Patricia Devine, , ,

Update Author

Patricia Devine, Network Outreach Coordinator, Pacific Northwest Region


PJ Grier, Outreach and Access Coordinator, Southeastern Atlantic Region