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4 min read

The benefits of electronic health records

Teacher standing in front of her class holding a tablet device

Still using paper health and medication records in your school? Now may be the time to go digital. There are many advantages to swapping from paper to online health management solutions and doing so is much simpler and quicker than you might think.

Keep reading to discover some of the key benefits of making the transition. We also dispel certain misconceptions that schools may have about making the switch.

The advantages of electronic health records

Both paper-based and digital health records provide a means of keeping track of accidents, injuries and other medical issues in your school. However, there is a world of difference in terms of their functionality. Below, we break down some of the main benefits of moving from paper to online records.


Keeps safety records centralised and in one place

Swapping over to digital means that your safety records are centralised and in one easily accessible place. This can save you from searching through files and boxes of paperwork to find the information you need. As well as accident and illness records, these online systems can store everything from student medication administration to staff first aid training details.

Helps ensure accurate record keeping

Digital accident and injury forms are created to ensure compliance, leaving no room for user error. They guarantee that names are spelt correctly and include required fields as dropdowns so that staff always input the necessary information.

For instance, pre-built incident investigation forms mean you can be sure that all the required facts are collected immediately after an accident or near miss. This includes factors such as extreme weather conditions that may have played a role in the incident.

Gives staff instant access to records on or off-site

Going digital means your staff have immediate access to medical updates via their smartphones, tablets and computers, and it allows for the recording of any incidents on or off-site.

When there is a health or safety-related development in your school, relevant staff are updated automatically via email alerts. Whether there has been an accident involving a student or there is new information regarding medication administration, teachers are kept informed at all times.

Makes parent communication more efficient and thorough

Online health management systems make it quicker and easier to communicate medical information to parents. For example, parents and carers can be notified of injuries immediately, thanks to automated emails. As well as providing parents with real-time information, this saves staff time and effort as it means they don’t have to manually transfer details from paper records into emails. It also ensures there is a full audit trail saved against every record.

School-parent communication software also enables parents to instantly approve the use of medicines for their child, as well confirming the correct dosage.

Provides functionality not offered by paper records

Paper-based records certainly have their uses, but their functionality simply isn’t on par with their digital equivalents. Online software offers a range of add-on features that can help to enhance health and safety record keeping in schools. For example, they provide the option of recording phone and in-person conversations as part of a comprehensive audit trail.

Helps you to be proactive rather than reactive

Online health management software gives you the chance to be more proactive in your approach to health and safety. Using this technology, you can create, filter and export medical reports and insights that allow you to spot patterns and dangers in the school environment, and take appropriate action to address them. For instance, you can track incident and injury trends across locations, times, dates and pupils.

Makes safeguarding easier

Digital records can enhance safeguarding in schools. They give you the ability to access student medical histories quickly and easily, allowing you to spot patterns in illnesses or injuries that may be a cause for concern.

Removes the need to reorder

Paper accident books vary in size, but it’s common for them to have around 50 pages. This means you may have to order new books on a regular basis so that you don't find yourself in a position where you have run out of slips. In contrast, you don’t have to think about this issue when you go digital.

Makes it easy to keep records confidential

It’s essential that the right people are able to access medical information about students, but equally, you don’t want this information to be available to anyone who tries to access it. With an online system, it's easy to make records confidential and to keep full control over this aspect of health and safety management.

The barriers to electronic health records

Paper health and safety records have been in use in schools for a very long time, whereas digital systems are relatively new. Because of this, you might feel a natural reluctance to swap from the former to the latter. You might also assume there are various barriers to getting set up with online health management software.

In reality, moving from paper to digital medical records is quick and easy. The software can be integrated seamlessly into your management information system, meaning your school can be up and running, fully compliant and paper-free within just a few days.

If you are concerned about staff struggling to get used to the new system and making mistakes, don’t be. As we highlighted in the previous section, one of the benefits of this technology is that it features dropdown mandatory boxes when users are inputting information. This means you can be sure that each record will contain the information your school needs, and the details required by the Department for Education and the Health and Safety Executive.

Why are electronic health records important?

Given the many advantages electronic health records bring and the fact that these systems are easy to set up, it is well worth considering a solution like this for your school. Going digital offers you the most efficient way to monitor student health and it means you no longer have to organise and store lots of paper records.

Crucially, an online health management solution can help to make your school a safer place for students and staff, and it can give parents and carers greater confidence in this aspect of your management. It can also save you and your team a considerable amount of time and effort, and make it easier for you to stay compliant when it comes to health and safety record keeping.

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