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A Collaborative Effort Connects Delaware Health System with Local School Nurses

Potera, Carol

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: September 2014 - Volume 114 - Issue 9 - p 17
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000453739.65454.1a
In the News

Secure sharing of electronic records ensures coordinated care for children with complex needs.

An innovative new program in Delaware is allowing school nurses to better serve students. In 2011 the Delaware School Nurses Association, the Delaware Department of Education, and Nemours Children's Health System launched the Student Health Collaboration program, which connects Delaware schools with Nemours. The link allows school nurses to access students’ medical records to ensure that children with chronic conditions receive updated, comprehensive, coordinated care.

After obtaining parental approval, school nurses access “read-only” electronic medical records of students from kindergarten through grade 12 who are living with complex medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and seizures.

NemoursLink, the secure electronic medical record system, tracks a student's visits to Nemours clinics and hospitals. School nurses can view the student's current medications, diagnosis data, treatment plans, and care instructions after an injury, illness, or hospitalization. Nurses can view information only for students attending the school where they work. School nurses or Nemours providers identify students who could benefit and invite their parents to join the program. “The majority of parents are delighted with the program,” says Ann Hurst, director of nursing in Ambulatory Services at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.

Participation in the program is voluntary. During the 2013–2014 school year, 240 school nurses, representing every Delaware public school district and some charter and private schools, had user agreements in place. Nemours trains nurses to use NemoursLink and created instructional materials to streamline the process. Educating the parents helps them to view school nurses as part of their child's health care team, rather than as an extension of the academic domain. “Once parents understand that the school nurse's office is a logical extension of their child's primary care provider,” says Hurst, “they're more comfortable with the program.”—Carol Potera

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