What can we do about Dr. Google? Using the electronic medical record (EMR) to prescribe reliable online patient education





EMR, Electronic Medical Record, EHR, Dr. Google, Epic, Patient Instructions, Patient Education, Education Rx, Education Prescription, Health Information, Online, Internet, Web, Websites, After Visit Summary, AVS, JMLA Virtual Projects


Objective: The project enabled clinicians to utilize the electronic medical record (EMR) to easily prescribe preapproved online patient education resources to their patients.

Background: Physicians and other clinicians are concerned about the wide use of “Dr. Google” and the difficulties of responding to patients who demand unproven or unnecessary tests and therapies they found out about on the Internet.

Setting/Participants/Resources: Participants were providers at a large health system using Epic EMR. The institution maintains a web-based database that links to print and electronic patient education materials that have been vetted by content experts.

Methods: Clinicians worked with librarians to create web pages that link to the resources they recommend for their patients. Librarians collaborated with the information technology (IT) department to implement a solution that enables clinicians to quickly and easily send the uniform resource locator (URL) to the after visit summary (AVS) or as a message via the patient portal.

Results: This solution has been implemented in more than 20 units across the institution. Analytics data demonstrate that the majority of patients in a surgery clinic visited recommended resources.

Conclusion: This simple solution is effective in directing patients to reliable resources. It can be easily adapted by other institutions using an EMR system such as EPIC or Cerner.

Virtual Projects are published on an annual basis in the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) following an annual call for virtual projects in MLAConnect and announcements to encourage submissions from all types of libraries. An advisory committee of recognized technology experts selects project entries based on their currency, innovation, and contribution to health sciences librarianship.


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Virtual Project