A homeless health charity has launched the first digital health-screening template specifically designed for people who sleep rough.

Pathway partnered up with supplier EMIS Health to create the screening template, which is now available free of charge to health organisations using the EMIS Web clinical system in London.

It enables doctors and health workers to create and maintain a detailed picture of a homeless person’s health, capturing vital information including clinical history, mental health and addiction issues, as well as details on housing and financial status.

Previously, individual hospitals were using different codes and record systems, resulting in inconsistent recordkeeping that meant some homeless people were not receiving the best treatment.

Samantha Dorney-Smith, nursing fellow at Pathway said: “Homeless people are five times more likely to attend A&E and four times more likely to be admitted to hospital than the housed population.

“The template will make it much easier to commission large-scale health services, treating patients who are homeless more effectively, economically and on a much larger scale. It has the potential to be a real game changer.”

The template was jointly developed over a two-year period by eleven specialist homeless healthcare services using EMIS Web in London.

Though currently only available to 200 staff in London, there are plans to roll it out across the whole of the UK.

Shaun O’Hanlon, chief medical officer at EMIS Group, said: “We have a longstanding relationship with Pathway and were pleased to offer our expertise free of charge to help create this vital template.

“With homeless people statistically 10 times more likely to die early than the rest of the population, there is a real need for this vulnerable group to receive specialist help, and this template will assist clinicians in driving up standards of care.”