A new partnership between the UK leader in connected healthcare software and services, EMIS Health and tech for good company, Elemental Software, is set to make it easier for GPs to refer patients to social prescribing hubs in their local areas and track the impact of the referral.
Social prescribing is a model of care which links people with non-medical sources of support within the community to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Recognising that health is determined by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way and aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health.
Developed by Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff following 15 years of experience working as community development workers in Derry, Northern Ireland, Elemental is a social prescribing platform that helps to scale and measure the impact of social prescribing projects.
In a new approach to social prescribing, EMIS Health, which provides the healthcare sector with innovative technologies, has joined forces with Elemental to deliver its Elemental Social Prescription Connector to GP practices.
The aim of the partnership is to connect primary care to social prescribing data, which will reduce the number of avoidable GP appointments and help patients to engage in positive lifestyle changes within their community. In support of this, research by the University of Westminster has found such schemes cut GP consultation rates by 28% and A&E attendance by 24%.
The Elemental Social Prescription Connector will be available from within the EMIS Web system to support GP practices to make, manage and report on referrals to local social prescribing hubs with ease and confidence.
The Social Prescription Connector also enables clinicians to view the status of referrals at different stages within the patient journey, helping them to better measure and monitor the impact that social prescribing activities are having on people’s lives.
Jennifer Neff, Co-Founder of Elemental Software, said: “The partnership will offer a seamless connection from EMIS Web into a social prescribing platform that tracks the uptake and impact of a referral. With the recent focus of the benefits of social prescribing, more GPs are wanting to be social prescribing practices and use social prescribing as a vital element in helping patients to engage in activities that can help to transform their health and wellbeing.”
Sir Sam Everington, GP, Chair of NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group and a board member of NHS Clinical Commissioners said “To connect GPs instantly to social prescribing, in a typical 10 minute consultation, will deliver enormous benefits to patients and clinicians. Social prescribing covers the 70% of health and wellbeing not traditionally provided by the NHS and can often be more important to patients than traditional biomedical care. For clinicians social prescribing can dramatically reduce their workload by providing access for patients to many therapeutic projects provided by the local authority and the voluntary sector”.