Primary Care News

First digital screening template for homeless people

A UK charity has introduced the first dedicated digital health-screening template for homeless people – enabling hospitals to better care for the estimated 4,700 people sleeping rough on UK streets.

The homeless health charity Pathway developed the template in partnership with EMIS Health, working together with 11 specialist homeless healthcare services in London. The template 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 record-keeping 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 enable doctors to see patients’ health priorities, provide more effective treatment and help relieve pressure on the NHS by reducing bed days and treatment costs.”

“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.”

Dr Tim Robson, Clinical Lead for the Pathway Homeless Health Care Team at University College London Hospitals said: “This new template allows for the accurate monitoring and measuring of outcomes, which are essential to demonstrate that expected standards are being met, and that we are using financial resources prudently. It’s a very real step forward.”