About 9.3 percent of children in the United States have asthma, and the disease is keeping them out of school far too often. The best way to empower young patients to take care of themselves is to allow them to carry their own inhalers, but it’s not quite that simple. Students can only carry their inhalers if schools have an asthma action plan on file, and it’s up to parents to take a paper form to the doctor, get it filled out, then file it with the school. If that plan needs to be updated, parents have to go through the process again. With all those analog steps, there are just too many chances for something to go wrong.
Switching from paper worksheets to an integrated electronic record between the child’s caregivers, school, and medical office would offer an easy way to solve the problem. If the asthma action plan was a digital asset shared between parents, schools, and providers, it could be updated far more easily, and shared with all three parties at once.
The key to the solution is to build a very simple, automated filing system using infrastructure that’s already available. What used to be a massive time suck for school nurses would become an automated process with reminders for parents and physicians. And best of all, once the infrastructure is in place, it could be used for other medical paperwork as well.