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AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2006; 2006: 854.
PMCID: PMC1839459

An integrated platform for portable clinical data, collaboration, and interactive education

Ishir Bhan, MD,* Carl Blesius, MD,* and Henry Chueh, MD*


We describe Apprentice, an innovative web-based patient record that combines clinical data, tools for collaborative task-management, and an integrated, interactive educational platform. The system makes this information available to providers in a handheld format to bring knowledge and education to the bedside. Apprentice is incorporated into preexisting clinical and educational computer systems within a large academic medical center.


In the era of restricted work hours and increasingly demanding clinical care, maintaining effective communication between providers, increasing efficiency, and providing on-demand access to relevant educational materials becomes of critical importance.

Apprentice is a new platform for patient care being developed at the MGH Laboratory of Computer Science. It creates a framework for the integration of patient data with tools for collaboration and educational resources. Apprentice:mobile is the centerpiece of the Apprentice project, allowing handheld devices such as the Palm Treo to access resources and knowledge from any location. This platform is particularly well suited for residents or staff members who travel throughout the hospital.

Apprentice: web provides all the functionality of Apprentice:mobile for desktop access and is suited for rapid data entry (e.g., for preparing for handoffs of care, recording teaching documents). Together, these two components help self-learning medical programs meet the dual needs of world-class patient care and sustainable teaching and education in an increasingly time-driven environment.

Access to data

The Apprentice platform displays live data over wireless network or synchronizes for offline viewing. It connects to existing patient data sources and highlights new and relevant data, levereging existing team lists. Apprentice simplifies access to patient census and location information, provides convenient access to family member contact information, speeds rounding and provides point-of-care data for cross-coverage.

Collaborative Tools

Physicians create to-do lists using Apprentice:web or Apprentice:mobile. Tasks lists can be automatically shared with all caregivers or members of a team. Team members can monitor shared progress on tasks in real-time. Covering physicians can add existing tasks to their list automatically to facilitate handoffs. Providers can use messaging functions to communicate clinical events or information. The system automatically updates team lists from existing databases.

Integrated Education

Apprentice integrates into the medical record, providing educational content in context and on demand. It provides decision support tools to encourage thoughtful clinical analysis during care. It serves lecture videos and slideshows for online viewing. Apprentice allows for online evaluation with electronic testing, displays calendar information for group events and conferences, and assists with administrative tasks such as attendance tracking.

Articles from AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings are provided here courtesy of American Medical Informatics Association