Student Health Record Management – More than a 4-Year Plan


As college students return to campus post-pandemic, there are unique health issues for this nationwide group of 20 million young adults. Increased mental health services are needed as well as the possibility for updated student medical record management processes to ensure compliance with the 21st Century Cures Act. Read the CliffsNotes-style blog below for a synopsis of the health trends for college students and the record management considerations for the campus health centers that serve them.


College students have unique health needs.

Let’s take a quick look at the state of healthcare for this group of young adults.

There are about 20 million college students in the U.S. eligible to use campus health centers. While more than 90% of those recently surveyed reported to the American College Health Association (ACHA) that their health is good, very good or excellent, there is a notable increase in students seeking mental health care.

In the ACHA survey, 14,000 on-campus students responded:

  • 49% feel lonely
  • 32% have experienced a high level of stress within the last 12-months
  • 42% sleep less than 7 hours on weeknights, and only 11% report getting enough sleep so they feel rested
  • 71% report more than three problems in the past year with academics, career, family, health of someone close to them, bullying, finances, peers and other life events
  • 34% report an acute diagnosis within the past year that negatively impacted their academic performance (e.g., flu, mumps, pneumonia, bronchitis, concussion, urinary tract infection, mono, GI issues, etc.)

Another study found that during the pandemic, depression symptoms tripled among American adults, including college students. (Note: 27.8% of all American adults report depression symptoms, compared to 8.5% prior to the pandemic.)

This is consistent with a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that reports the pandemic elevated the already growing mental health concerns for college-age students, including:

  • 3 in 4 report facing at least one adverse mental health symptom such as anxiety or depression
  • 1 in 4 seriously considered suicide within the 30-days prior to completing the survey

The campus health centers that serve this population need to be nimble and nurturing to address the young adults who seek care, while also equipped to meet the advancing regulatory requirements for their electronic medical records. 

Campus health centers – like other medical providers – are held to federal and state laws for protecting health information and retaining medical records. In fact, some institutions must store student records 10+ years after the last semester of attendance, making it necessary for universities to have a secure, long-term data management strategy. This includes student medical record archiving. It is vital to maintain secure and detailed records for a comprehensive medical record that provides a complete history of health.

Student health centers need to be prepared with lifecycle data management solutions to comply with new Cures Act regulations.

Student health centers may also be “hitting the books” to determine if and how they need to comply with the 21st Century Cures Act, specifically the Information Blocking rule. In short, the rule prohibits practitioners from engaging in information blocking of electronic health information (EHI). While ePHI excludes education records and treatment records, there may be some records that would be included, such as: records of a student who are patients of a hospital affiliated with the university. While the rule went into effect on April 5, 2021, the ONC will hold off on enforcement and penalties while organizations work through the process of implementing policies and procedures to comply with the Cures Act.

Beyond regulations, patients are demanding online access to their medical record. In a recent survey of 2,517 healthcare consumers, 67% said they will consider changing their doctor or hospital providers in the coming year after learning how their health record was not sharable, available or was blocked in the past year.

HealthData Archiver® is a record storage solution that delivers a single point of access to historical patient information. This HIPAA-compliant solution also allows for secure, user-restricted access to documented behavioral health information.

In addition to other risk and cost savings benefits, HealthData Archiver® offers both interoperability and data analytics capabilities for colleges tracking population health information as a part of the College Health Surveillance Network (CHSN), a national database of over 1 million enrolled students from student health centers at universities across the country.

Harmony Healthcare IT, the makers of HealthData Archiver®, is equipped to provide campus health centers with technical and business guidance that will allow them to develop and execute a secure legacy data management strategy. That’s why we offer campus health centers data management services like extraction, migration, retention and student medical record archiving.

Are you seeking data archiving solutions or a legacy system replacement strategy for your student health center? We’re experienced in decommissioning major EHR brands often used in campus health centers.

Need to make sure you are equipped to manage the requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act and that your data retention and population health requirements can be met long after the student has left campus?

Let’s talk.

Note: This blog is updated from a previously published article from Dec. 2, 2019.

Jul 27 2021

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