A Digital Tool for Social Prescribing
At any time, people are facing many different and varying degrees of social challenges in their lives. The 2020/21 lockdowns showed many of us personally the impacts of more isolated living. Compounded by the Covid -19 pandemic, we all at points may need support to deal with the loss of a loved one, paying our rent or mortgage or looking for a job. All of these issues have a significant impact on our mental health, physical health and wellbeing.
The increasing need for social support has propelled the health inequalities gap and has meant that health services have had to re-prioritise clinical support. Not only that but more investment is needed in community services to help support social prescribing and manage the demand for non-clinical support.
What is social prescribing?
Social prescribing is a growing movement that connects people with a range of non-clinical programmes, services and events in their local community. These could include walking groups, mental health counselling, debt management advice, employability skills, family fitness, mindfulness sessions, and the ‘green prescription’ of gardening and food growing.
The benefits of social prescribing
Over the last decade, the community development approach to wellbeing has shown to be really effective. Social prescribing provides a space for people to access the support they need. It’s the opportunity to empower people to have a chance to say what matters most to them and join different activities, programs or services in the heart of their community. Creating these connections in response to something that a person is dealing with has a substantial positive impact on their health and wellbeing. As a result, they are less likely to see their GP or visit A&E and, most importantly, less likely to develop long-term conditions.
However, there is still an effort needed to embed social prescribing within primary care and in our communities. All parties need to be able to understand and see the impact it will personally have on them. The data will be the aspect that can’t be ignored.
Elemental Software has collected this data and feedback. Repeatedly they can show services reduced anxiety levels and increases in overall wellbeing. This data can then inform where funding streams are needed for programmes, services and organisations.
A digital solution to social prescribing
Managing multiple relationships and keeping track of the different services and programmes can be a heavy task. This is what Elemental Software co-founders Jennifer Neff and Leeann Monk Ozgul also found as community development workers. They set about creating a digital solution that took out the intensive admin load, enabling primary care providers to focus on getting a person the right help and social care services.
Elemental provides teams with the technical connectivity they need for multi-sector partnership working, leadership, and measurement. The platform also connects with EMIS Web, Systm1 and Vision enabling GPs and others using those systems to make and manage referrals to Social Prescribing Link Workers within just a few clicks across primary care networks.
The Founders Story behind Elemental
Leeann Monk-Özgül and Jennifer Neff were both community development workers. They were finding it challenging and frustrating trying to help and empower communities. They saw that so many people were hardly ever reached or heard.
In their roles, they felt bogged down with admin and writing reports when they really wanted to be out talking and listening to people and communities about the challenges they face, what they love and what they want to achieve.
This led to Leanne and Jennifer considering how digital could support in alleviating common frustrations or providing a solution.
They came up with the idea in 2013 and spent 3 years developing it, gathering data and applying for funding. But it wasn’t until 2016 that Jennifer professed they were a commercial company. In 2016 they won the INVENT 2016 Enterprise Software category. Being recognised in this format was the moment they realised that “this is definitely going to happen.” Elemental Software is now a 30-person strong team with a cabinet full of award trophies!
It, of course, hasn’t been all plane sailing, and Jennifer shares more about the challenges wins and personal story behind developing Elemental Software on The Business of Healthcare Podcast. Listen or download here.
Last week Jennifer Neff, Elemental CEO and Co-founder joined Tara on the Business of Healthcare Podcast.
Through their innovative digital platform, Elemental enables localities and regions to establish, develop and scale the social prescribing model of care. We work with local councils, health and social care trusts, community and voluntary sector organisations, housing associations, prisons and education organisations, such as universities, to co-design and deliver better community and wellbeing outcomes.
Elemental’s platform integrates with all leading Clinical systems, EMIS Web, Systm1 and Vision which means GPs and others using those systems can make and manage referrals to Social Prescribing Link Workers within 3 clicks. Follow up on the uptake and impact of the referrals with the Elemental Connector Plus and benefit from social prescribing snomed codes being pushed back into the patient record.
By better connecting people into their communities, the Elemental platform demonstrates the impact that multi-sector partnership working and community and voluntary services have on wellness, community cohesion and demand on health and social care services.
About Jennifer Neff, Co Founder and CEO of Elemental Software
Jennifer is the Co Founder and CEO of Elemental Software, an award-winning female-led tech for good company based in Derry, Northern Ireland.
Jennifer is driven by a passion for ending health inequalities. She set up Elemental Software with Leeann Monk, to establish, scale, and measure the impact of social prescribing, connecting people, building communities, and improving lives.
Jennifer works every day on that mission, to spread the word about the social prescribing movement, the difference it makes to people’s lives, communities, and the health and social care sector.
Building upon her years of experience in regeneration and social and economic development, Jennifer helps organizations to enhance and evaluate the impact of their social prescribing programmes via Elemental’s award-winning portfolio of digital social prescribing products and transformational consultancy services.
As the leading digital social prescribing software provider in the UK, Elemental is bridging the gap between health, housing, the VCSE sector, Local Government, and prison services with a range of digital solutions designed to enable the strategy and practice of self-care and independence.
For more information on Elemental Software visit elementalsoftware.co
*This article was created in partnership with Elemental Software.