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TechnologyMay 19, 2021

Physios and other AHPs have 'unique opportunity' to complete digital competency survey [updated]

Physiotherapists and other allied health professionals (AHPs) are being urged to take part in a UK-wide survey that focuses on their use of digital technology at work.

The number of people who have already completed the survey – which was launched on 10 May and will remain open until 30 May – has been described as ‘fantastic’ by Chris Tack. Mr Tack, who co-chairs the London AHP Informatics and Digital Network and is a Topol fellow with Health Education England, is based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust in south London where he is AHP clinical lead.

 

 

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THE Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly affected how services are delivered to patients

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Physiotherapists have been taking part

Early signs have suggested that physiotherapists were outnumbering other AHPs in terms of which professionals have been taking part in the survey. See posts on Twitter here: @DigitalAHP.

As well as Mr Tack, two other two other influential figures in the digital health field are listed on the site at which the UK AHP Digital Competency survey can be found. Visit: http://tinyurl.com/284sauz7

The first is Alex Wilson, who co-leads the AHP specialist interest group at the Faculty of Clinical Informatics and is the therapies digital lead at Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust. The second is Lesley Holdsworth, a physiotherapist by background who is the Scottish Government’s clinical lead for digital health and care, and also a fellow of the Faculty of Clinical Informatics.

Lesley Holdsworth

Dr Holdsworth told PhysioUpdate: 'Understanding the core digital competencies of the AHPs will be critical to the development and adoption of new pathways, which could undoubtedly be greatly enhanced by the use of digital solutions.

'This survey, which is based on the great work of Chris Tack undertaken during his Topol Fellowship, will provide us with vital information about where the skills and gaps lie and allow us to respond at both home nations and local /professional levels to address these.'

A Scottish perspective

Dr Holdsworth added: 'Here in Scotland for example, I fully intend to utilise these results to influence the forthcoming national digital workforce development plans as I know my colleagues in the other nations will also be doing.

'No other professions have attempted to capture this level of knowledge on a UK basis although many have expressed an interest in repeating this exercise within their own professional constituents.'  

We will use the findings to inform future digital workforce development and practice plans across the UK at professional, national and local levels [survey statement]

'Unique opportunity'

A statement on the survey site describes the work as a collaboration involving national AHP digital leads that is supported by each country’s chief allied health professions officer. The survey findings will be used to assess the current digital literacy and practice of the AHP workforce throughout the UK, it states.

‘We will use the findings to inform future digital workforce development and practice plans across the UK at professional, national and local levels. The survey provides AHPs with a unique opportunity to take stock and determine the digital competencies of the workforce.'

The survey is being conducted during a period when the Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly affected how services are delivered to patients, the statement adds.

‘This is particularly relevant now after a year which has seen radical change in our services due to the pandemic with the emergence of new pathways and ways of working, many reliant on digital solutions.’

To see a '30-second pitch' by Chris Tack on why you should complete the survey, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQtgakFnw9k

Further information on workforce digital competencies is available on the Health Education England website. Visit: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/digital-literacy/profession-service-specific-digital-capabilities The Digital Competency Framework for AHPs was created by Chris Tack.

Author: Ian A McMillan
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