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Access HSC helps Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust deliver more efficient mental health services

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The recently published Mid Mersey Interoperability Evaluation has demonstrated the significant impact that Access HSC’s integration between Rio electronic patient record (EPR) and Elemental social prescribing software have had in improving care at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust has been using the Rio EPR system since 2015 and Elemental social prescribing software since 2016.

In 2022, it became the first trust to go live with the Rio-Elemental integrated solution enabling over 700 mental health professionals across Merseyside to refer patients to social prescribing services provided by The Life Rooms, directly through Rio EPR.

The benefits that are being realised at the trust around how social prescribing can help the growing number of people with worsening mental health due to social issues supports the case for developing a national social prescribing strategy, as recently called for by the Health and Social Care Select Committee.

Reflecting on the impact of the integration in the interoperability report, a clinician at the trust said: “Usually if I needed to refer a patient, I would need to complete a referral form, which is time consuming.

“Using the Elemental tab has shortened my referral time by around 1 hour [per patient].”

Before implementing the integrated solution, Mersey Care’s mental health clinicians spent a significant amount of time manually prescribing social support daily, taking time away from delivering clinical interventions.

The time taken to meet an individual’s social needs has been reeuced from 27 minutes to 8 minutes per appointment after implementing the integrated solution, as clinicians can refer service users to The Life Rooms more easily.

This means that clinicians are spending less time on administrative processes and more time seeing patients.

The report also highlights clinician satisfaction since implementing the technology.

97.2 per cent of clinicians said they felt confident they were meeting social needs of service users since having access to the interoperable system, with 94.4 per cent of staff recommending The Life Rooms service to their colleagues.

The integrated solution has helped to streamline the referral process, improving individual’s experience of the service and giving staff a more holistic view of each individual’s care journey.

It has also made it easier for The Life Rooms to work hand-in-hand with community mental health teams to deliver the best care possible.

The report also found that 94.4 per cent of clinicians felt confident that patients would receive high quality care when referred to The Life Rooms.

One clinician using the integrated system said: “It takes a lot of pressure off me knowing that another specialist team is able to guide my service users to what they need.”

“It’s so refreshing and reassuring for all the team, to know there is social prescribing and something else out there to help the folk we work for.”

There are currently 28 clinical teams utilising the social prescribing offering, with 15 of them doing active referrals.

The data available via the integrated solution has been critical in enabling The Life Rooms to expand its geographical footprint and offer high quality care to more patients.

Since going live with the integration in 2022, there have been 1,396 individuals referred to the Life Rooms by clinical teams and over 2000 social prescriptions.

Staff at Mersey Care have also reviewed the data collected to understand the main social factors that are impacting people’s wellbeing so it can run look to the service more effectively, mitigating against social determinants of health such as fuel poverty and the cost of living crisis.

Michael Crilly is Director of Social Health and Community Inclusion at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

He said: “By looking at the data available within the integrated system, teams can also closely map the social circumstances that are leading to individuals presenting in crisis and tackle these at the root source.

“This can help us to deliver proactive support before health issues deteriorate further, rather than working on a more reactionary model of care.”

Following the initial success of the integration, the Rio-Elemental solution is now being extended to social prescribing teams across Liverpool and Sefton and other trusts are also looking to replicate the integrated solution.

Jardine Barrington-Cook, Head of Interoperability at Access HSC, said: “The interoperability of these two systems leading systems in their fields has been a key driver of the success at the trust, as highlighted in the findings of the report.

“We are delighted that by working together, we have been able to transform the way services are delivered, improving individual’s outcomes.

“We look forward to seeing how this partnership continues to support the delivery of more person-centred care across the region.”

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