Polytechnic School Kept Medical Records in a Paper Log Book, Putting Vital Information at Risk
Marcy Kwitny, Director of Health Services at Polytechnic School, used a log book in the health office for ten years, noting every student visit. She would write down a student’s name, the reason for their visit to the nurse, what treatment was provided, and whether the student’s parent/guardian was contacted. This is a common practice, and many school health offices likely use the same process today. The problem is that a log book can easily put a student’s privacy at risk.
Ms. Kwitny also faced challenges when parents contacted her about their child’s health office visits. It took time to gather specific student health information because she had to do a manual search through her handwritten notes. The same process was required if she needed to produce reports regarding the total number of student visits to her office, or the number of children with sore throats over the course of a week. In all, it became very labor intensive and time-consuming.
This manual process also led to notable issues with ensuring documentation consistency in her log book notes. The level of detail in her notes could vary depending on time of day or how busy she was tending to multiple students at one time. “I was looking for ways to standardize my language and terminology because notes can be open to interpretation, especially when a sub nurse is in,” Kwitny said.
“Getting Magnus Health wasn’t an overnight decision. It was something that I thought about for years and I had looked at a lot of other programs. I realized that I had to be forward thinking and consider what was already being used at the school.”— Marcy Kwitny, Director of Health Services
“Getting Magnus Health wasn’t an overnight decision. It was something that I thought about for years and I had looked at a lot of other programs. I realized that I had to be forward thinking and consider what was already being used at the school,” Kwitny said. Being proactive allowed her to recognize the connection between what happens in the health office and the rest of the school. That understanding allowed her to look for a solution that would be beneficial to the school, the health office, and the students.
Part of this was noting what student information was already being provided to other parts of the school. For example, if parents were submitting contact information that is stored in a school database, Nurse Kwitny wanted to be able to use that same information in the health center. When the time came to move forward with Magnus, she wanted to discuss the decision with an important stakeholder, the IT Director, John Yen. Yen’s perspective was essential in choosing Magnus Health because of his insight about the WhippleHill (now Blackbaud) + Magnus Health integration. At the time, WhippleHill (now Blackbaud) was the software behind Polytechnic’s website and their Student Information System (SIS). The streamlined integration between the two platforms aided in the information exchange and simplified the user experience.
Nurse Kwitny also knew Yen could provide advice around one of her biggest requirements for the new solution. “I knew I wanted it to be web-based so that it would be accessible to myself and parents. Accessibility is so important these days,” Kwitny said. Because the Magnus Health Student Health Record (SHR) solution is entirely web-based and has a sophisticated integration with WhippleHill (now Blackbaud), it was the clear choice for Polytechnic.
Ms. Kwitny jumped right into using the Magnus Health software following the implementation process. Her first step in getting comfortable with the online solution was to use the Treatment Notes module instead of her logbook to chart student visits. That change was just one way Magnus Health has helped to improve the level of care that she has been able to provide to students. Safety and portability of information are two of the main benefits, and having information right at her fingertips has been key to Polytechnic’s success. Having student data in one online account encourages parents to be more responsive as they can easily update information simply by logging into their Magnus Health account while using their computer or any mobile device.
Not only can Nurse Kwitny access the information anywhere and at any time, she’s also able to share it with other school staff by setting up permission access in Magnus — a luxury not afforded by a paper-based form collection process. This allows schools to restrict access to student data based on the role of each staff member. Polytechnic has repeatedly benefited from this functionality, most notably in three areas: with school divisional offices, outdoor education and class trips, and Athletics. Administrative Assistants in the lower, middle, and upper schools need access to the contact and emergency information, but not the health information, which Nurse Kwitny has been able to provide. These assistants can access parent contact information, Magnus911 Emergency cards, Consent to Treat forms, and allergy action plans. They do not have access to view private student information. Trip coordinators and chaperones for the outdoor education and field trips can access certain student records on their smartphones as needed, improving security and eliminating the hassle and risk of taking paper forms off campus. The Athletic staff only has access to student athlete health data and emergency contact information — all using their mobile device.