Three physio students share their optimism about the CSP’s Physiotherapy Health Informatics Strategy (PHIS) and how will it affect the profession and their working lives. By Chloe Neate, John Townsend and Seti Mohmedi-Kartalaee
Health informatics is one of the fastest growing areas of development in healthcare; it involves utilising technology and data to improve patient outcomes and clinical efficiency, leading to a more positive experience for patients.
As students we already use health informatics on a daily basis, whether that be in education with remote learning, simulation dummies, websites or apps. When in a clinical setting, imputing information on to an electronic medical record or doing remote consultations, wherever we are health informatics has a positive impact on our lives.
Learning more about health informatics will help us grow as individuals and as a profession, to have a greater impact on healthcare as a whole.
What will the PHIS mean for students?
The PHIS is an online educational resource that will give us a platform to:
- Gain knowledge and confidence using informatics in practice
- Take ownership of our own learning with accessible bitesize modules
- Reflect on and return to our own development
The PHIS will help us better understand using data and technology. It will give us guidance on how and why we collect data, how to analyse it and who to share it with. Whatever stage of our career we are at the PHIS can benefit us. This will positively impact and optimise physiotherapy service delivery and patient outcomes.
The PHIS is designed to grow and develop the informatics culture across the physiotherapy profession. Having everything in one place makes it easier for us to access so we can continually develop at different stages of our careers.
Why is the PHIS important?
Today, where modern technology impacts every aspect of our lives, learning more about PHIS during our university studies will provide us with better insight to improve healthcare plans, helping us to confidently move our career and profession forward.
The PHIS prompts us to consider more accessible, convenient and time efficient ways of offering quality services to all our future patients. Using technology (e.g. zoom software) and data (e.g. patient information) appropriately will help us to become better physiotherapists.
What benefits does the PHIS provide to our future profession?
As students, it is clear that health informatics is integral to understanding and delivering quality healthcare and will only become more important in our profession. Going forward, the PHIS will improve our knowledge and confidence of using health technology and data. This means we’ll be able to learn, as well as teach others, to make improvements to physiotherapy services.
The goal is for health informatics to become our ‘new normal’.
You may have used paper notes on placement, for example. Think about how inefficient this was for your practice, and how many more minutes could have been spent doing something productive. You probably thought to yourself, 'there must be a better way...'.
Well, the use of technology, like electronic patient records, means you'll have easy access to the right information at the right time, without having to track down the notes on the ward.
Another benefit of health informatics is that patients are more empowered. They can access healthcare in the places that best suit them. A video call at home, for example, will save the patient money and time while also improving the efficiency of your care delivery.
What we think physiotherapy will look like in the future
In the future it would be great if physiotherapists will have at least a basic understanding of how to collect data, what to do with it and its purpose. With use of technology making our time more efficient and a more enjoyable work environment.
We would hope that physiotherapists will get recognised for all the hard work they do as a profession with better treatments meaning better patient outcomes.
- Frontline piece on the importance of informatics
- Private practitioners Emma and Charlie Park on how they use health informatics in their work
- Article in Frontline on the road towards digitally enabled physiotherapy
- Policy paper, Data Saves Lives: reshaping health and social care with data
- World Health Organization's Global strategy on digital health 2020-2025