Prescription to get active - more than just medicine


In 2011, Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network (PCN) began a Prescription to Get Active Initiative. The Leduc Beaumont Devon area is a mixed suburban and rural population just outside of Edmonton, Alberta. Prescription to Get Active is an integrated partnership between primary care, Alberta Health Services, municipal and private recreation facilities to promote the importance of daily regular physical activity. In early 2014, this initiative expanded to the greater Edmonton area. Prescription to Get Active targets low risk, sedentary individuals who are not meeting Canada's physical activity guidelines by addressing common barriers of motivation and access. Participating physicians and other healthcare professionals provide a written prescription for physical activity which can be turned in to receive complimentary access to participating facilities. We have asked our partner facilities to report the number of prescriptions redeemed between the regional launch in February 2014 to March 2015. With approximately 1000 family physicians and primary care allied providers participating in the initiative, 682 prescriptions have been redeemed across the Edmonton zone to date. Partnering facilities report that between 20-40% of patients attending with a Prescription to Get Active continue past the initial complementary access period to purchase a longer term membership. Our results indicate that prescribing physical activity by a family physician or a member of their team can lead to successful behavior change. This program supports the premise that a strong partnership between primary care and community recreation is a critical component of a physical activity prescription program.