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Social networks are important in health and wellbeing because they are a source of support for people and can help them make better use of the resources and services that are around them. Social networks that include a diverse set of relationships (local groups and activities, friends, acquaintances, family members, health professionals) have positive effects on health.
CLAHRC Wessex Team have developed GENIE, a social network tool, that helps patients map their network and make best use of their existing contacts and add new ones where needed. It is currently being used on the Isle of Wight with pilots in UK, Canada, US, Spain, Netherlands, Bulgaria and Greece. GENIE has been taken up by care navigators and health trainers and integrated into their work so far it has been used with over 200 clients.
• Healthcare savings of £175 per patient per year
• Improves health outcomes (blood pressure and quality of life)
• In Dorset it is used as an activity in regular community-based self-management support courses.
• The GENIE tool will be introduced into the services of SOLENT NHS Trust.