The Cooperative Extension National Framework for Health and Wellness calls for the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) to partner with healthcare professionals to support their patients in preventing illness and promoting health through community education. Strategies to connect the healthcare system with coordinated referrals to community-based health programs can help patients improve health outcomes. The Rx for Health Referral Toolkit pilot project was developed as part of a strategy to align CES’s strengths with the medical community to promote quality healthcare experiences for patients. The toolkit educates healthcare providers about the many health programs offered by CES in Michigan. It helps ease the burden on healthcare providers by providing a ready-to-use, simple referral tool. Extension staff were recruited to serve as the point of contact for healthcare provider referrals and conduct outreach with primary care practices utilizing the Rx for Health Referral Toolkit. As a result of the pilot project, CES educators had 56 new participant referrals directly from healthcare providers. Prior to this pilot, referrals from healthcare providers were rare. Feedback showed that patients also needed to know what CES is and what it has to offer. Partnerships between healthcare providers and CES can improve the health of patients nationwide.
Tiret, H., Eschbach, C., & Newkirk, C. (2019). Rx for Health Referral Toolkit to Promote Extension Programs. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 7(3), 9. https://scholarsjunction.msstate.edu/jhse/vol7/iss3/9
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