Use of informatics between schools and healthcare providers

School children are required to have a complete physical exam prior to starting school. The report is hand written by the physician and turned in by the parent to the school office. . During the school year, the child is only in contact with the school nurse if he/she is sick while in school or if he/she has an accident at school that requires medical intervention. If a child experiences problems after starting school and goes to see the physician, the school is not necessarily aware of what transpires during the visit. I see this as a potential breakdown in communication and a place where informatics could help. For instance, if the parents gave consent to the child’s doctor to release medical information to the school, then the doctor could have ongoing communication with the school nurse. I believe that if the information could be provided electronically, it would make it more convenient for the physician to share the information. Most health care providers are extremely busy and may not be willing to hand write information. With the use of electronics, the doctor could dictate the information for input by a medical assistant. The school nurse could then have easy access to that information. The school nurse could have a database for every child where this information could be stored. I think this information would be especially helpful in assessing/detecting problems associated with hearing. A child who is having difficulty hearing may be mistaken for a child who is having behavioral difficulties. The child may be placed in a special program without identifying the root of the problem. If the child’s complaints are properly identified, then the nurse could tailor her interventions accordingly. The nurse could also use this form of communication to inform the child’s physician of problems that may be initially identified at the school.

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