Hebron Academy Boosts Parent Response Rate with a Blackbaud Integration
Hebron Academy’s Student Health Center Director, Cheryl Tardif, is upfront about her most dreaded task as a school nurse. “The most tedious part of a school nursing job is obtaining and managing health records.” For Tardif and her team, the process began every August prior to the new school year, and “the major problem we faced was receiving incomplete records from parents.” For each of the 250 students at Hebron Academy, five to seven pages of health records are required (1,250-1,750 total records), but many parents would return only a portion of those pages.
The pages “were sent in the mail in hopes they would be returned prior to registration day. Getting all the forms filled out and returned was a challenging effort,” Tardif said. For those students with missing information, the three school nurses had to make follow up phone calls to remind the parents. They then had to make charts and checklists of missing information, make more phone calls, and start the process over again.
Three nurses spent 30 hours each week, for three weeks leading up to school, to manage this process. That’s 270 hours spent on these administrative duties alone. Even then, “We were lucky to get two thirds of our charts complete,” Tardif said.
Once the information was received, Tardif and her team had to store all of the records in filing cabinets for the currently enrolled students, while graduated student records were packed up, and moved to a vault. Throughout the year, the nurses had to print emergency forms to accompany coaches and teachers to all off-campus events. Unfortunately, there was no guarantee the information on those emergency forms was the most current available. Regarding updating student health information throughout the year, Tardif said, “parents would hopefully notify us, we really did not have a system for updates.”
Hebron Academy’s health staff spent a significant amount of time on the collection process to ensure each student’s compliance; but, since their system was paper-based, they were left hoping the information would be submitted instead of being able to control the process themselves. It was this lack of control that prompted Tardif to seek out a better solution.
“We wanted to computerize all our medical records, eliminate mailings, and increase ease and compliance in obtaining records,” Tardif said. She noted that multiple software solutions were evaluated, but three main factors contributed to the decision to move forward with SHR: “Magnus Health was willing to use our existing forms, listened to our needs regarding compliance, and allowed us to control how often and when we would send notifications and email reminders to parents.”
While making the transition from paper to electronic records could have been a huge hurdle for them, according to Tardif, implementing SHR was a “great experience.”
When making the move to SHR, it helped that the Hebron Academy IT department was a part of the process. “Our IT department was fully on board with the decision to choose Magnus Health. Blackbaud was already our school’s academic communication platform. The integration capabilities of Magnus Health into Blackbaud made it an easy transition,” Tardif said.
In their fourth year with Magnus Health, Tardif and her staff at Hebron are happy with their results. “This year we had 90% compliance of completed records the first week of school. Even the remaining 10% had most of the information we needed,” Tardif said. That 90% compliance is a result of an automated process, where mailings are eliminated and staff have more control over the process. They’re no longer just hoping for a good outcome — they’re using automated reminders to continually stay in touch with parents and encourage prompt responses for outstanding items.
Some of Tardif’s favorite benefits of the system are over and above the obvious savings in resources. “Certainly time and money are both being saved. However, it is the ease of use for parents, nurses, and the fact that it is HIPAA protected that I love most,” Tardif said about SHR.
Parent ease of use is a big positive for Hebron Academy. “[Parent] response is evident in their compliance. They do it and in a timely manner. It is easy for them and they know what has to be done,” Tardif said. She also noted the system is user-friendly for international parents. “We also have a 35% international population. Parents from around the world use SHR without difficulty,” she said.
Magnus911 and the Magnus Health mobile app are favorites for Tardif. “We love the 911 card for emergency room visits and when we have students that need to see care providers off campus. We simply click the ‘fax to provider’ button and all the information needed by the doctor’s office is sent,” Tardif said, noting how this module has really improved internal processes in emergencies.
As for the mobile app, Tardif’s feelings are short and sweet — “I love it and use it all the time.”