The Healthy Lifestyles Team at Barking and Dagenham Council has embraced a specialist public health software solution to help ‘sell’ its programmes to health and education professionals.
Whilst the council has always been proactive in providing services to its community, Danielle Walker, Physical Activity Manager for the council explains, “the fact health and education specialists, such as school nurses, can refer directly to our Change for Life Health Lifestyles Programme for families is a great promotional tool for our services.
“The online nature of the referral software and its accessibility from multiple locations has proved to be a great tool for these time-pressured health and education professionals, and has led to a really positive uptake in some of our services, such as our Change for Life programmes, as well as our cardiac rehab service and referrals from the Mental Health team.”
Soon to be changed to a Healthy Lifestyle Hub with area managers who cover all the weight management, smoking cessation, cardiac rehab and Exercise on Referral (EOR) programmes, the EOR programme began as ‘Fit for Life’ in 1995 with one project manager. Following additional funding in 2012, the service now has multiple programmes at a variety of leisure and community centres, working with eight GP surgeries in the locality, as well as recruiting its own team of specialist lifestyle coaches, who deliver the lifestyle programmes in-house.
Walker commented: “In addition to our different programmes we also previously had a variety of funding sources including Sport England and the British Heart Foundation. Using our paper-based system we couldn’t always capture the quality of life data that was required. We needed a more sophisticated system and, at that time, it seemed all my time was devoted to reports.
“Since implementing ReferAll in October, as well as the promotional benefits, ReferAll is releasing our instructors from paperwork, meaning they can spend more time talking to and working with clients. It has reduced the duplication of work, a result of our previous paper-based system, and freed us all up to focus more on our patients and clients.”