At the beginning of each school year, many schools struggle with collecting and processing student health records and various other forms. School nurses and administrators seek solutions to better manage this process, but deciding on the right solution has its own challenges. The solution that many schools are discovering is a web-based Student Medical Record (SMR).
SMR is a web-based software solution that makes it possible for schools to collect, track and manage student health information securely. To better understand the impact SMRs have on schools, we sat down with Nurse Reviewer, Rachael Mullan, to get her perspective.
Q. So Rachael, how long have you been a Nurse Reviewer?
A. I have been a Nurse Reviewer for about two and a half years now.
Q. What are your duties as a Nurse Reviewer?
A. Right now, I am assigned to 10 schools, some of which require me to review just their immunization forms, and for others, I review immunization records as well as all other documents that are submitted by parents. When reviewing documents, I determine whether or not to accept or reject each one based on the criteria that the school has specified for each form. I follow State guidelines for immunization record review.
Q. What makes a Nurse Reviewer's perspective on SMRs unique?
A. We kind of get to see both sides of the SMR coin -- both from the parent's and the school's perspective -- and then be the connecting piece to help keep the student records up to date and to ensure compliance with the school’s and State requirements.
Q. How do you think SMRs have impacted schools? Do you think it makes it easier or harder to manage forms? (Please provide as much detail as possible).
A. I feel like SMRs allow a streamlined approach for organizing student data, and from a nursing perspective, I think it makes it easier on the school staff or school nurse who collect the info each year. When a form can be converted into an Electronically Signed Document (ESD), I'm certain it makes things easier on the parents as well.
Q. What do you like most about SMRs?
A. I like that the option for setting a next action date is present on most documents, especially the immunization requirements. This provides an easy system generated reminder to parents when their student is due for an updated vaccine.
Q. What do you think is the most important question schools should ask themselves when they are considering switching from paper record management to an SMR?
A. A big thing to take into consideration is how will the parents/families react. How would a change impact them? Would it improve their experience? In terms of whether or not an SMR is better than paper records, there’s really no question about it! SMRs greatly improve student health record compliance rates and allow for parents to simply upload the forms online or using their mobile device. Convenience is key. If it’s secure, easy, and accurate, then it’s the way to go! One of the biggest benefits of an SMR solution, like Magnus, is the ability to send automated email reminders to parents/students of approaching deadlines. If they are continuously reminded of what’s due, then so much time and effort can be saved by using an SMR instead of tracking and shuffling through paperwork manually.
Q. How much time do you think you save by using an SMR?
A. I have never worked in a school nurse role where I had to collect paper documents, but as a parent to elementary aged children, I currently spend about an hour filling out forms for two students each school year. I am certain that this would be decreased to around 15 minutes per child if I was able to do some of them electronically, especially if I used the Vital Health Record format that Magnus software offers.