Digitally-advanced social prescription initiative launched

HealthUnlocked announces new social prescription system will be rolled out to GPs in North East London

A new digital initiative that aims to reduce pressure on frontline services and support better health management was launched at this week’s NHS Expo.

Speaking during a session at the event, Dr Matt Jameson Evans, chief medical officer at HealthUnlocked, announced that a new social prescription system would be rolled out to GPs in North East London as part of a partnership between test bed organisation Care City and HealthUnlocked.

By using technology we can support people to have a far-better quality of life, radically rethink management of these conditions, and significantly reduce demand on emergency departments and GPs in the NHS

The new technology will deliver a digital social prescription service for GPs and other health professionals to use directly within their own IT systems.

The powerful and personal social prescription tool will be prescribed to patients and tailored to individuals based on a person's long-term condition and location.

The prescription will include NHS and social care services, charities and voluntary sector and signposting to relevant HealthUnlocked online support communities.

Dr Matt Jameson Evans will confirm that the system will go live in two GP practices in September, before rolling out across north east London.

He said: “Having any form of long-term condition is often life changing - by using technology and opening up support and services to these people we can support people to have a far-better quality of life, radically rethink management of these conditions and significantly reduce demand on emergency departments and GPs in the NHS.”

The system is based on the HealthUnlocked peer-to-peer and expert support online platform, which has over 700 online support communities.

Evidence shows that use of the site and access to its support makes people more confident in managing their health, that they use clinical services less, and they have more-positive reactions and engagement in their own care, with doctors and health professionals.

Care City is one of five national health and social care test beds and the only one in London.

It spans four boroughs, Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.

The Care City Innovation Test Bed seeks to test a combination of devices and software alongside new approaches to service delivery and patient participation to assess whether we can measurably improve the wellbeing and resilience of older people with long-term conditions, older people with dementia, and their carers.

HealthUnlocked is one of six innovations being tested across this patch.

John Craig, chief executive of Care City, said: “We are identifying and developing innovations to help local people live happier, more-independent lives, reducing the strain on carers and the health system.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with HealthUnlocked to help achieve this goal.”

HealthUnlocked is the second-largest health website in the UK, behind nhs.uk, and is in the top 20 health websites globally.

We are identifying and developing innovations to help local people live happier, more-independent lives, reducing the strain on carers and the health system

With over 650,000 members and over 4.5million users each month, it contributes to improving health outcomes and patient activation through use of its online health and wellbeing communities that provide dedicated help, support and information for patients.

Working with the NHS, its artificial intelligence (AI) recommendation engine provides personalised self care recommendations designed to engage individuals with their health and improve outcomes.

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