Doctors and school nurses in Delaware are beginning to share information to better care for children with chronic illness.
Specialists at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children and primary care doctors in the Nemours health system are working on the pilot program with nurses at several schools in the Red Clay and Milford school districts.
Too often, important health care instructions never make it to school, especially after an emergency room visit, says Dr. Katherine King, a pediatric pulmonologist.
“And the school’s wondering, ‘Well did they think you had a concussion? Should we be taking precautions at school? When are the stitches supposed to come out? What are the restrictions for physical education class and recess?'” King said. “And the nurse’s difficulty is, ‘Who do I call?'”
A pilot program lets school nurses log on to a secure Web site to consult a child’s medical record. King says parents give consent before their child’s information is shared.
Adding school nurses to the information loop may help improve care for children with asthma, diabetes and other health conditions requiring close management—and give parent peace of mind, King said..
“I think that if you had a chronic illness that would give you a lot of security when you send your child to school. You’re not just putting the inhaler or insulin in their bag and hoping that everything goes well,” King said. “You really have a team of care providers working together to give the best care.”
Doctors hope the program will improve care, but first they’ll measure whether the electronic medical record is convenient and easy to use..
“We can look at the EMR and see if people actually use it. We can set this up but people are so busy … did they actually find time to use it?” King said.