Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust is aiming to be the first organisation to go live with an integrated health and social care solution that will enhance mental health services in the area.

Mersey Care is working with Access Health Support and Care (HSC), provider of Rio electronic patient record (EPR) and the Elemental social prescribing solution, which will allow mental health professionals to refer patients to social prescribing solutions provided by The Life Rooms, directly through the EPR.

It’s projected to save clinicians 20% of their time on every referral. This means more patients can be seen, tackling the waiting list backlog.

In addition, clinicians will be empowered to spot the social problems that are often the main cause for deterioration in mental health conditions, by providing full sight of their patients’ care journeys.

Gary Thorpe, service lead and head of integration at The Life Rooms, which is managed by Mersey Care, said: “This could be an absolute game changer for clinical teams and services. As a clinician, if you are identifying social needs in a vulnerable individual you will be able to refer them easily and have full line of sight. It will help clinicians do their job whilst being able to monitor and see the impact of everything in the EPR.

“By making it easier to identify patient needs and refer them to the right social prescribing services that meet those needs, we can tackle the social problems that lead to worsening mental ill-health and free up clinical time.”

The Rio EPR-Elemental integration at Mersey Care will allow clinicians to track the services that patients have accessed and monitor the impact on outcomes all within the EPR. All information is secure, with The Life Rooms’ staff only seeing the information they require to handle the referral.

Lyndsay Thompson, Mersey Care operational manager, said: “We hope the Rio EPR- Elemental Integration will give clinicians the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to linking our services directly with social prescribing activities, and in turn see how these can help patients.

“Referrals to social prescribing activities, such as help with housing, advice on finances or classes to help the individual retrain or return to the workforce, should be far more efficient and streamlined through the integration, and we expect this to significantly free up clinician time. We are also very excited when we can start referring our patients to Life Rooms, which offers complete transparency on social prescribing outcomes. The possibility that we’ll be able to see the immediate impact our referrals have for patients is something we are really looking forward to.”

In August 2021, Elemental was acquired by digital software provider Servelec, part of Access HSC.

Steve Sawyer, managing director at Access, added: “By integrating EPR and social prescribing tools into one system, we’re expecting to see seamless transitions between care pathways to ensure patients receive the right support by clinicians every time, and that their health problems are resolved at the root of the issue.”

The integration will be rolled out across six major boroughs. Mersey Care will be the first trust to trial the integration, which will go live this month across early intervention, community mental health and crisis teams.