Program elevates patients’ health by encouraging any contact with the outdoors

Story Body

Before Dr. Laura Fox writes out a park prescription — yes, you read that right — she discusses the patient’s health and locates parks close to the patient’s chosen address.

She asks whether patients prefer parks on their homebound commute, near home or near work. Do they plan to visit the park with children or dogs? Do they need paved trails? Then she texts, emails or prints out their park prescriptions. The system even allows her to send weekly reminders by email or text.

Her patients at Bellingham Bay Family Medicine have responded well.

“They’ve never heard of a prescription like this before,” Fox said. “They’re surprised at first but then they see me pull up park options on my computer and they say, ‘Oh, that’s great!’”

About 70 percent of the time, Fox writes out a ‘parkscripton’ to help patient manage their physical health, such as weight loss goals, high blood pressure or diabetes. She also uses the program for younger patients who may not experience direct health issues but could benefit from being unplugged from a tablet or phone.

Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.

Media Contacts

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office