Qatar implements school health in public schools across the country
266 public schools will be live on Cerner by 2020
As part of the Qatar’s 2030 Vision and the national program to promote health in schools, Qatar’s Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) has embarked on an ambitious program to connect all 266 public schools within Qatar to the centralized electronic health record system (EHR). Since the program began in late 2016, over 90 schools have been successfully connected and the children and health care practitioners alike are already experiencing the benefits of an increasingly connected health care ecosystem. At this rate, the teams are well on track to deliver on their commitment and have all schools connected by the end of 2020 or sooner. In total, 300,000 students will be added to the countrywide electronic medical record.
Value of a connected school health solution
The school nurse is pivotal to the success of this strategy. In addition to being the school’s primary caregiver, they also shoulder much of the responsibility for local health improvement initiatives, emergency planning and early identification of potential medical outbreaks within the school. They are also fundamental in monitoring and identifying vulnerable and at-risk children within the school and make appropriate referrals to the appropriate institution or care center.
Where once they were reliant on locally kept, paper-based records of pupils, incidents and immunizations, they are now – through this PHCC Initiative – able to directly connect to the electronic health records, shared between PHCC, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Sidra. This provides immediate access to the pupil’s medical history and in so doing provides a more robust basis from which to make assessments or take informed decisions.
The school health nurses are able to directly update the pupils centralized medical record making it immediately available to both Hamad Medical Corporation and PHCC. The benefits of this are many, for example:
- In the event of an accident at a public school in Qatar where a child is referred to the Emergency Department, the physician is now able to see how the injury was sustained, the medication and any treatment given and at what time by the school nurse.
- The nurse can now easily see the immunization history of the school population and ensure that parents and pupils are engaged, educated and immunized in a timely manner.
- Growth charts that are shared across the enterprise, help in detecting overweight and underweight children alike, allowing for the nurse to make the necessary intervention to educate and support the pupil and family in making healthier lifestyle choices at an earlier age and reduce the chances of these becoming chronic conditions in future years.
- The national education program for school nurses will also be supported by highlighting common conditions presenting across the country. This will ensure that nurses are being trained in the best way to manage these issues in the school environment.
The Cerner enterprise architecture covers the entire public health sector and serves a population of 2.7 million lives. On initial registration of a child at a health center, school data is collected to ensure a comprehensive medical record. Millennium PowerChart® was leveraged to provide school nurses with the ability to enter data easily, and prescribe and administer a limited number of medications safely. Both PHCC and Cerner believe in innovation as a core value, actively encouraging their associates to think creatively and push the boundaries of what might be achieved. Through working closely together in partnership along with our schools and our communities, we are developing solutions to provide improved health outcomes and improved quality of care across the nation, working towards a healthier Qatar.