In the world of independent school education, there’s one question that has plagued health staff and technology leaders for years. Which is better for managing student health: a dedicated electronic health record (EHR) system or a health module within a student information system (SIS)? 

While using your SIS’s health module is a convenient option, it’s not the most efficient — or the most secure. Keep reading to learn six reasons why an EHR is a better way to care for your students. 

It’s specifically designed to manage student health. 

An EHR’s sole purpose is to manage health-related information and activity. It offers a robust set of features specific to health office needs including immunization management tools, medication schedules, allergy information, and medical records.   

These features are not typically available in a generic SIS health module. Relying on this solution can feel like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; it can be engineered to work for your student health needs, but at its core it wasn’t designed to be a health platform. You will spend more time digging around for health data and making the platform work for you than enjoying a seamless workflow.  

It’s built with health staff in mind. 

An EHR platform like Magnus Health understands the unique responsibilities and challenges of a school health office. With an intuitive interface and data-driven communication tools, the system is designed to streamline health office workflows. Features like automated email reminders, digital form collection, and a student check-in queue are revolutionary for a small staff and help eliminate the burden of manual tasks. 

Plus: an EHR offers in-depth reporting and data analysis. These tools help school nurses identify health trends, track immunization statuses, and make informed decisions about their community policies.  

It takes data security and compliance seriously. 

Student health records contain protected health information (PHI) like immunization records, allergy action plans, and medication details. This information must meet Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines relating to: 

  • How information is shared 
  • Who information is shared with 
  • How information is protected 
  • What happens if there is a data breach 

By law, an EHR must be compliant with HIPAA. Platforms like Magnus Health are evaluated annually for HIPAA compliance. This extra layer of protection gives schools peace of mind that their student health data is safe and secure. A student information system isn’t always bound to the same security standards. 

It’s customizable to your school’s needs. 

Every health office has their own way of doing things based on the location, type, and size of the school. For example: 

  • A boarding school might handle medication administration differently than a day school since students live on campus. 
  • A lower school has different considerations than an upper school as students have more self-agency. 
  • A school in New Hampshire is required by state law to stock albuterol inhalers for allergy relief, whereas a school in Massachusetts is not legally required to carry this supply. 

The great thing about an EHR is that it can be customized to meet your school’s unique needs and workflows. Do you want to give your athletic trainer access to student athletes’ treatment notes? You can do that. Does your school require self-carry permission forms for student medications? You can build a form just for that — and even send it to relevant students and parents directly within the platform. 

An EHR is built to enhance your work, not restrict it. A SIS health module is often a small piece of a larger puzzle and therefore less easy to customize.  

It comes with dedicated training and support.  

Software works best when your staff knows how to use it! That’s why most EHR vendors offer dedicated staff training and customer support. At Magnus Health, we have hundreds of how-to articles, on-demand webinars, and live training sessions on frequently requested topics. This helps new users get up to speed with the platform and also ensures that ongoing customers are continuing to level up their knowledge and get the most from their EHR. Additionally, we offer support for parents who use Magnus Health at their child’s school, helping alleviate the customer service headache for your health office. 

With a student information system, training is spread across the entire SIS. There might be a health module session but it’s unlikely that it will be as in-depth or specific to health office needs.  

It complements your student information system. 

The most efficient way to use an EHR is in tandem with your SIS. You can integrate the two platforms together to share information and streamline staff workflows across each department. The Magnus Health EHR integrates with numerous student information systems, allowing school staff to keep the academic systems they know and love while elevating their student health capabilities.  

To learn more about the Magnus Health EHR, get in touch with our team for a custom demo and see why more than 1,000 schools rely on our industry-leading platform.