Skip to content

Case Study

Using Health Data to Keep Kids in Class

How Westfield-Washington School District uses Frontline School Health Management to support student learning, identify health trends in buildings and district-wide, and equip nurses to offer better care.

Westfield-Washington School District Hero Image

District Background

Twenty miles north of Indianapolis, Westfield, Indiana is the sixth fastest-growing city in the United States. Teresa Layton manages the nurses in Westfield-Washington School District. Each of the district’s nine buildings has Registered Nurses assigned to them, provided by the local hospital system, Riverview Health.

For 23 years, Westfield-Washington has used Frontline School Health Management’s electronic health records system to simplify documentation, enable nurses to be more efficient, and use data for decision-making in schools. The nurses’ time is filled with all the usual things school health offices handle like caring for students and distributing medications, but as enrollment rises, their plates are increasingly full. One challenge that they face — like many school nurses do — is an influx of students who visit the health office to avoid class.

Keeping Kids in Class

Teresa says data in Frontline School Health Management allows her team to ensure healthy kids stay in class. “We can look at how many minutes this kid has been in the clinic. What time of the period are they coming in? I am excited that at the upper level, the nurses can do that and then they can go to counseling and administration and say, ‘Does this kid need resources, or does this kid just need to stay in class more? Where are we at on this?’”

Reporting on Trends

Every month, Teresa distributes reports to each school showing which symptoms arise most frequently in each building. Each year, she reports on the district as a whole. “I am data driven, and it allows us to look at the data pieces, because you can narrow it down to specific types of symptoms that you see. What are we seeing? What are the bulk of the symptoms? What kind of resources do we have? Do we need to implement new ones or look for different ones? That is the broader picture.” The data is especially helpful during cold and flu season. “Frontline has a report for that. Fevers, we can look at that. Any type of outbreak suspected, we can look at that. It really gives us broad picture and narrow picture for the children.”

Teresa frequently looks at the number of kids nurses have seen, comparing it to the previous year. If the numbers have increased or decreased significantly, she wants to understand why.

This data helps Teresa justify requests for additional staff, funding, and resources. “The staff can see. ‘Oh, wow. You saw a lot of kids. You had a lot of emergencies,’ or ‘You called out EMS how many times?’ That will be part of our reporting. It is not just how many band-aids we put on. It is how many children are we servicing? What service are we providing? How can we increase that service? How do we keep the kids in class better?”

Teresa Layton Photo

“Having information, true black and white data, a real picture of what is occurring, and I can show it to others to prove our workforce or management things we need to change or increase staffing. That is a huge piece.”

Teresa Layton
– Corporation Nurse Coordinator

Individual Student Data

Because Frontline School Health Management makes it easy to see each child’s medical history when they come into the office, nurses have the information they need to provide the best possible care. “The narrow picture would be a child specifically: looking at what resources they might need. How can we address them? What time of the day do they need this? Are they good for the first couple hours of school and then we start seeing them in the clinic?”

Simplifying Nurses’ Days

Nurses begin each day with a fresh (and often long) list of tasks. Frontline helps them ensure nothing falls through the cracks — especially in buildings with multiple nurses. “Our upper buildings have two nurses, so when they’re dealing with the to-do list and looking at scheduled meds, when you have two people processing it and trying to keep track of what’s going on for the day, that’s extremely helpful,” says Teresa. It is also helpful for substitute nurses who may not be familiar with the kids in the building and when children need to come to the office for medications.

Medication Inventory

Many students are prescribed controlled substances, and Frontline helps the health office keep track of them — not only ensuring that students receive their medications, but also that medications stored in the schools are accounted for.

The system also keeps nurses apprised of when medications are about to expire. “On an EpiPen, is there an expiration date?” says Teresa. “I can enter that in the system and then it is going to pop up on my to-do list. Then I can call that parent and say, ‘Hey, their EpiPen is expiring in another month. We are going to need another one in the clinic.’ I do not have to physically walk into the drawer and look at all my EpiPens. That is just effort lost for us. So that helps us do those types of inventories, look at expirations, keep the medications up to date, and make sure we have what was dropped off to give to their children.”

A Health System That Can Do More

Teresa says she has worked with school districts that do not have an electronic health record system like Frontline School Health Management — often relying on the limited functionality in their student information system. “You cannot do the reporting. You cannot look at statistics. It is pretty much a text box. It does not give you a way to narrow anything down. They still do a lot of hand inventory on medications. So, I have seen the other side and I have lived the other side prior to electronic health records — I have been doing this long enough. I would never want to go back there.”

Better Care for Students

The middle school at Westfield-Washington has approximately 1,500 kids in 7th and 8th grade. Nurses will often see 70-80 students per day. With the quick documentation in Frontline School Health Management, they do not need to spend copious amounts of time entering data — and can focus on the student in front of them. “It allows them time to look at the child and take their time to do the assessment, report it to the parents if there is something they need to do. The child feels like they have been taken care of, that we have considered their needs as well.”

Frontline School Health Management is a critical tool in nurses’ hands. “There are other programs I’ve seen, and they don’t even touch it,” says Teresa. “There’s just nothing that meets it like Frontline does. Just having access to information, being able to export it, manipulate it, show it in real-life graphs and explain it to somebody who is not just looking at straight numbers, it is invaluable.”