A digital social prescription tool that allows GPs to prescribe information, services and online support, has been integrated into the clinical system EMIS Web.
Initially live in two GP practices, the technology will be rolled out across practices in North East London as part of our unique partnership with tech company HealthUnlocked.
By embedding this new type of technology directly into the GP system, doctors will be able to quickly and easily deliver a digital social prescription to the patient as part of their standard consultation or appointment. The tool directs and signposts patients to local services, charities and voluntary sector support, and relevant HealthUnlocked online support communities.
Dr Matt Jameson Evans, Chief Medical Officer of HealthUnlocked said: “Digital social prescriptions have the potential to completely change the management of hundreds of conditions. By using technology and opening up support and services to patients, we can give people the tools to a better quality of life, reduce reliance on medications and radically rethink how we manage chronic health conditions. The most significant benefit is the potential to reduce demand on Emergency Departments (ED) and GPs in the NHS.”
Dr Amit Sharma, a GP at Tulasi Medical Centre, the first practice to go live with the tool, said: We know that access to more information and support can change how you manage your health and your health outcomes. The concept of social prescription is not a new one, but having the ability to provide it quickly and easily during a consultation, and know the information is reliable, suitable and helpful is new. This will make a difference to a lot of our patients, whether they have cancer, diabetes, or would benefit from losing weight.
Shaun O’Hanlon, Chief Medical Officer at EMIS Health said: “We’re delighted to be able to integrate this new tool into EMIS Web, the most widely used primary care clinical system for GPs in the UK. We know that our users appreciate seamless integration with technology from our partners, ensuring quick and easy access to the technology, is what GPs want and we hope this will enable them to offer access to social support more easily. We’re pleased to support this roll out.”
John Craig, Chief Executive of Care City said: “The process and use of social prescriptions has for far too long been too difficult. By putting social prescribing at the GPs fingertips – within the patient record - and enabling it to be shared with patients at the touch of a button, we have made the process quicker and much more useable. By doing this, together with HealthUnlocked and EMIS Web, we will also be able to collect data about the use of social prescribing and its effectiveness allowing us to collect a reliable evidence base.
For GPs not using EMIS Web, patients can be directed to the HealthUnlocked app (IOS) found in the NHS App store, having been one of the first apps to be approved by NHS Digital.