5 Tips to Keep Your Health Science Students on Track and Compliant with Their Immunizations
Students pursuing healthcare careers rely on your support to help them meet immunization requirements for clinical rotation and residency programs. To pave the way for students to meet requirements on time, you need an immunization tracking program designed for maximum compliance and efficiency.
The Value of Staying on Top of Immunization Compliance
Helping students prepare for the next stage of their healthcare education keeps them on track as they pursue professional training in their field. By making sure your students meet health requirements before beginning their clinical training, you are supporting your institution’s agreements with affiliated clinical partners.
Immunization compliance comes with a degree of complexity, because it often covers more than immunization records. Your health science students taking part in rotation and residency programs likely also need to submit the following health information:
- Medical history and physical exam forms
- Health screening questionnaires
- Identification, such as photo ID
- COVID-19 test results
When students submit proof of immunization and other health records on time, they have one less thing to worry about, and they increase the chances of having a smoother start to their clinical training programs. Tracking immunization compliance also delivers the following benefits:
- Protects rotational students and residents and the patients who come in contact with them: Students with up-to-date immunizations are less likely to be infected or spread certain contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, and influenza.
- Helps students get prepared for clinical rotation or residency programs: Students who have met clinical site immunization requirements can avoid delays due to a lack of immunizations or incomplete health documents.
- Saves time for program administrators: Efficient processes and technology to track immunization compliance reduce the manual workflows and double-entry often accompanying paper and spreadsheet tracking.
The value of immunization compliance is also evident in the problems you can avoid. Keeping track of student compliance can reduce the likelihood of the following scenarios:
- Students miss clinical deadlines and meetings if they have not met immunization requirements.
- Students who can’t meet clinical site requirements can experience issues or delays with their financial aid.
- Poor student compliance can damage your institution’s relationship with clinical affiliates, and possibly put contracts in jeopardy.
- Low compliance rates can cause your program’s effectiveness to be called into question by auditors or other outside reviewers.
How to Keep Allied Health Students on Track with Required Immunizations
It’s no secret that pursuing a degree in the medical field takes hard work and long hours. Studies show medical students experience higher levels of burnout than other students due to all the demands on their time. Given all the other steps students must take to apply and prepare for rotational and residency programs, they need a well-organized process to help them submit their health and immunization histories easily.
Students are busy, but so are instructors and administrators. The easier you make it for students to submit information and program administrators to verify student-submitted health data, the more successful you can be in driving student compliance. Take these five steps to keep your students on track with submitting required health information:
1. Simplify the process
When a process feels rushed or lacks instructions for proceeding, students may not take action out of confusion, frustration, or both. Alternatively, a process with guided steps and clear instructions shows students the path to full compliance and helps them get there.
You can make it easy for students to submit information by giving them a broad enrollment window at the outset, so they have plenty of time to gather and submit the required documents. An online portal equipped for mobile and desktop access provides a centralized location for students to upload documents and get status updates and reminders. By simplifying the process and offering students a “one-stop-shop” for all immunization and healthcare data, you can keep track of student health information and reduce the volume of routine questions program administrators must answer via phone or email.
2. Use technology to help you track student compliance
Using paper or spreadsheets to track student compliance with clinical site requirements can lead to important information slipping through the cracks. Manual tracking also makes reporting more challenging and limits real-time visibility of your progress. Alternatively, a cloud-based student compliance management system allows you to view documents submitted by students and track outstanding items for better compliance.
Student health information and immunization tracking technology enables you to take the following actions:
- Securely share student health data with allied health program clinical sites.
- Get support from healthcare professionals who can verify results and provide additional guidance to students.
- Expand your program to track new immunizations or tests, such as COVID-19.
- Seamlessly integrate with clinical site systems and state immunization registries.
3. Send automated reminders
Communication is at the heart of any successful immunization tracking program, and regular updates can maximize the impact of yours. After sending initial communications, you need an efficient way of staying in contact with students and letting them know where they stand as they submit their health information.
Automated compliance reminders keep immunization requirements top of mind, reducing the likelihood of students forgetting about forms they need to submit or waiting until the last minute to get started. Automated reminders also help you track series-based immunizations and expiration dates, so students don’t miss boosters or testing follow-ups.
4. Use messaging tools to communicate with students
Given the various requirements and differences in acceptable documents from one clinical site to another, tracking student compliance is not as simple as accepting student documents and checking them off as complete. Sometimes there are alternative documents, waivers, and other exceptions requiring follow-up or additional review.
When your program has the right messaging tools to help you send and track messages to students, you can improve the flow of information, communicate more efficiently, and stay in compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules. Instead of using phone and email, you can request sensitive student health information through a HIPAA-compliant messaging center. You can also answer student questions and provide instructions for next steps where necessary.
5. Partner with a reputable immunization tracking partner
A reliable compliance management provider helps you keep pace with clinical site requirements, so you can successfully prepare students for participation in rotational and residency programs. When you work with a compliance provider who also provides access to trained healthcare professionals, you can verify immunization data, answer student questions, and provide guidance on acceptable test results. Instead of having to question whether the information you receive from students is valid, you have the support of healthcare specialists to verify student immunization data and advise when more information is needed.
Using cutting-edge technology and reporting tools, you can track student compliance in real-time and make sure you meet important deadlines. By working with an immunization management provider who has satisfied the highest standards for data security, you can protect sensitive student health data and stay in compliance with applicable regulations.
Keep Your Health Science Students on Track
When you have the right provider and tools, tracking student immunization and health data can be a smooth and orderly process. Immunization tracking technology automates the process of requesting and collecting student health information, and qualified healthcare professionals lend an expert eye to verify it.
Using an end-to-end immunization compliance management solution such as VerifyStudents with Medicat One ICM integration, you can track and manage student immunizations and help your health science students meet the requirements of clinical rotation and residency programs. Read our guide, Improving Immunization Compliance, to learn how you can improve your program for better compliance and efficiency.