The University of Salford and its partner Elemental Software have won £110,000 in funding to develop evidence of the impact of social prescribing in communities.
The project, which will involve the development of digital systems, has been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grant under the scheme run by UK Research and Innovation.
It will involve the employment of a business analyst to work with stakeholders in all sectors involved in social prescribing to understand their data needs.
This will include the creation of new systems for the extraction and interrogation of relevant data, an examination of the necessary system integration and the development of a new data analytics tool.
The work will also take in market research and company analysis on existing data systems and the evaluation and dissemination of the work through events and publishing in academic journals.
The overall aim is to support the development of a social prescribing population health management module, and to help to improve the targeting of social prescribing programmes.
The university is reported to be an authority on social prescribing, which involves directing people to non-medical sources of support and activities to support their wellbeing. It is believed to have great benefits but more research is needed to provide evidence.
Dr Michelle Howarth, senior lecturer and deputy director of post-graduate research at the University of Salford, said: “This KTP is a wonderful opportunity for the University of Salford to work with a key industry partner, Elemental, to help develop their digital platform to enable robust and comprehensive social prescribing monitoring and reporting.
“This unique partnership will develop new and innovative solutions that can be used to provide social prescribing providers with data needed for future service planning and commissioning.”
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