Trinity School used to store student health information in file folders in the nurse’s office. Many of those documents were submitted on Visitation Day in mid-August, the day before the first day of school, or later in the year. It frequently took well into the spring to collect all the information. For a day or two in August, Nurse Debbie Bright would enlist the help of a substitute nurse to color-code file folders and make manual lists of students with asthma, allergies, EpiPens, inhalers, and other notable health issues.
As with most schools, collecting vital health information from parents prior to the first day of school has been a consistent challenge for Trinity School. It is one of many tasks that parents must complete during the busy summer months and can easily be overlooked. Depending on the child’s age and health history, doctor appointments may also be required. These are also easily forgotten as families are traveling throughout June and July.
As is required for any school in Georgia, Trinity School routinely undergoes Public Health audits of their student immunization records. To accommodate the auditor, paper copies of the immunization records were placed in a ring binder, divided by grade. That binder would then be given to the assessor to review page by page.
– Debbie Bright
When Trinity School made the decision to purchase Magnus Health SMR, Nurse Debbie Bright noted, “the Treatment Notes application was a major factor, and also the ability to readily identify groups of students with special needs, or simply by classroom.” Assistance from the Client Services team made the transition as smooth as possible. “Each and every Magnus employee that I have been in contact with has been great,” Bright said. She also noted that Magnus has been responsive to her suggestions and requests regarding the product and how to use it, and when needed, a representative has joined her on early morning conference calls to address her specific issues.
With SMR fully implemented, Nurse Bright is most excited about the document collection and organization. “My paper volume has been significantly reduced. I have one paper file for one student with multiple issues, but have not needed to access it even once,” Bright said.
Document organization has been key for the auditing process. When an audit is carried out now, Bright merely uses permission settings to share only the specific documents that need to be reviewed. “I no longer maintain a ring-binder with paper immunization records. Now, I simply give the assessor limited access to the grade-level and immunization records and she uses a laptop to review the documents online. There is rarely a need to print out a few forms for the assessor of the Pre-K program, but so far no more than three pages,” Bright explained.
For other schools and nurses using SMR to prepare for an audit, Bright’s advice is simple, “Relax. You have it organized. You know you have it.”
Another tool Bright has utilized is the Magnus Mobile app. “I needed it once to access parent contact info away from my office, and I have teachers with access for field trips, diminishing the need for lists of information on paper,” Bright noted.
Not only has Mobile eliminated the need to make lists on paper for off campus events, SMR in general has alleviated that burden on Bright for regular day-to-day operations. Because students can be put into groups denoting a health condition, and teachers and school staff can be given limited access to view those critical details, it’s “easier to provide those ubiquitous lists of who has what problem, especially life-threatening allergies and respiratory challenges,” Bright said.
– Debbie Bright
Bright noted how helpful the weekly notifications to noncompliant parents have been in spurring them to action and submitting their documents. And parents are seeing the benefits of Magnus themselves, in particular with viewing their child(ren)’s treatment notes. When Bright elects to share a treatment note with the parent, they can view when and why the student visited the nurse. “Sometimes the parent addresses the frequent flyer issue with the child, and sometimes it’s just that they realize that I am providing a helpful service,” Bright said. According to Bright, “New parents, especially those moving from out of state or out of country, love it for the ease of getting most or all of this task done online.”
Bright has also enjoyed the ability to easily edit a student’s Vital Health Record (VHR). “I can keep the record much more up-to-date. I don’t have to depend on the parents to revise it. They can, of course, but most don’t look at it again until it’s due for the next school year,” Bright said. “For instance, a student that just discovered a new food allergy, one student broke his arm at football practice last weekend, and one student had a medication that has been changed to a new dosage. Or something as simple as changing a mom’s email address for her, or the physical address when the family moves to a new house,” Bright explained. In each of these cases, Bright could easily use her own login to update the student’s information, keeping the student’s file current without requiring extra work from the parents, or additional paperwork to her office.
Trinity School dealt with pages and pages of paper and incomplete health records well into spring each year. They also faced regular auditing of that health information, forcing Bright to make copies and maintain binders solely for the audit. But with SMR, health information is submitted in a timely manner, organized and managed in one location, and the critical information can be shared with the utmost security and privacy. From on- or off-campus, Bright can access the information she needs, as well as inform teachers and dietary staff of allergies and other life-threatening health conditions. Now, preparing for an audit simply includes providing assessors limited access to only the required information they need to do their job.