As the holidays draw to a close, whilst some are returning to work, students will be turning their attention back to school. For university students, that might mean moving away from home for the first time. But whether your patient is doing their GCSEs or a professional qualification, they’ve got a lot to think about. As well as studying for exams, settling in and socialising may start pushing other aspects of their life to the side – and health is often something that gets easily overlooked among students. It’s no surprise that students coping with a mental or physical health condition can sometimes feel the squeeze of fitting everything into 24 hours.
How can health professionals like GPs and practice staff help students and parents keep on top of their health? Get your patients ready for going ‘back to school’ when it comes to their health and wellbeing.
Join up patient health
With all the facts, quotes and info that students need to memorise, it can get pretty difficult to remember everything about their health as well! Do you ever ask your patients:
- To recall parts of their medical history from memory?
- When they were diagnosed with a condition or started taking a certain medication?
- How often they’ve had a specific symptom or to record when it occurs?
By encouraging your patients to keep a personal health record app, they’ll have all the health information they need in one place – which they can access and add to whenever and wherever they want. Storing all the information in one place can help patients easily answer all GP questions and can make it easier to diagnose. Most students will have access to a device that you download an app onto. In fact, a 2018 report revealed that over 95% of 16-24 year olds own a smartphone! So, why not help students record all their medical history, conditions and vaccinations in a handy app on their phone?
School is a breeding ground for dust mites, mould and not to mention food intolerances. Allergies to medications can be particularly useful to record to avoid any adverse reactions if students are admitted to hospital. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence reported that between 2005 and 2013 there were 18,079 serious allergic reactions to medication in hospitals, which included 6 deaths and 19 cases of serious harm.
They concluded that there were several reasons why people with drug allergies were still being prescribed medications that they were allergic to. These included lack of patient information on the drug allergy and the lack of a routine system in place for people to keep a record of their own allergies.
By keeping an up-to-date allergy record, students can show this information to school staff or health professionals, so they’ll know what to do in the event a reaction does occur.
With lectures, after-school clubs and homework, it can get pretty overwhelming to manage medications during studies. Whether your patient has a long-term condition, takes repeat prescriptions, or is treating a temporary illness, you can help them keep on top of their medications with reminders and keeping a complete medication diary on their phone – so they never miss a pill during the busy school day!
Greater Manchester-based GP, Dr Amir Hannan recommends medication management apps to his student patients. He says that getting medicine reminders "becomes even more important when people are very busy or otherwise pre-occupied.”
Store documents and letters
Being a student already means you’ve got stacks of paper, books and folders to store in quite a cramped space, either your room at home or university halls. And it’s probably not a great idea to get them to add to this with more GP registration letters cluttering up the place! With a personal health record, they can keep all their health documents in one place by storing them in your phone.
Share and care for parents
Making sure students’ loved ones are completely in-the-know about their child’s health and care helps keep them reassured and in control. With a personal health record app, people can share any of the information with others quickly and easily when it’s needed – that can be particularly useful for children when they’re away from their parents at school or university.
Dr Amir says that “parents can set the app up for their children to remind them to take their meds” whilst they’re at school or away – “children get a reminder and parents love this especially when they’re worried that they might not be taking their meds.”
Let your students know about trusted access within the Evergreen Life app, so they can share this health information with parents, family members,friends or carers. It’ll help reassure them about their child’s health, whilst also allowing them to support them.
Get your patients online
Getting registered at the doctor’s is one thing but getting students signed up for GP online services is even better! Evergreen Life provides both website access and an app which are connected to all three GP platforms. Accessing Patient Facing Services online via Evergreen Life is approved by the NHS, designed to support both the patient and GP practice.
Students probably don’t have too much time to spend waiting on the phone to get an appointment, or to go back and forth into the surgery to request prescriptions. Save your practice staff time and effort – download our FREE webinar recording where we share with you ‘three easy steps to getting your patients online.’
It's no surprise - students and young people communicate via instant messaging services and 95% use smartphones for this. If students are signed up to GP online services, GPs can send messages privately to their patients via the Evergreen Life app. This helps to improve doctor-patient communication, so everyone is truly clued up on their healthcare.
Patient online services can also be used to share mass communication with specific groups, anonymously - which can include student age populations or those with certain health conditions - ensuring that the right patients get the right message at the right time. As a health professional, you’re also provided with reporting data on how many patients have read messages and acted on information sent electronically, making analysis and measuring effectiveness very easy. Get top marks with our healthcare messaging!