Recently, I came across a school nursing forum discussing sharing student health information and treatment information with parents. For students under 18 years old, parents and/or guardians might want or need to see this information, and they have a right to do so. So what do school health staff do?
In the nursing forum, health staff detailed several approaches, all of which raise challenges. For health centers using a student information system to log notes, this information is frequently unavailable to be shared with parents. For those using a manual log, nurses may have trouble sharing only the specific student’s information without displaying another student’s information. For information kept in a binder, nurses may have to schedule parent visits to school, make extra phone calls, or copy and mail information.
All of the above are burdensome and take time – time which health staff could (and would rather) be spending with students, and attending to their needs. One nurse noted, “I am sure there must be a program that allows the parent to just view their child’s information.” They’re correct. SMR specializes in communicating health information in a secure, HIPAA compliant, efficient manner.
With SMR, school health staff can elect to share treatment notes from a student’s chart. If a student visits the health center repeatedly, and the nursing staff thinks parents should be aware of it, notes from all those visits can be shared. If a parent has a concern about treatment on a specific day, or over a course of time, those notes can be shared. If schools want to notify parents every time every student visits the health center, that’s possible too.
The process is easy. A dropdown menu allows health staff to share the treatment note or not. They can also select if they'd like to send a notification email prompting the parent to login to their account immediately, or simply allow the parent to view the information upon their next login, without notification. All of these options are available to give school health centers the flexibility they need to communicate health information easily and securely.
While communicating health information with parents is essential and important, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Our Communicating Health Information research paper gives an in depth look at all the variables involved, and how to manage them securely and efficiently.