The importance of informatics

Health informatics have a vital part to play in evolving physiotherapy practice, says Jackie Lidgard 

Jackie Lidgard is a CSP professional advisor
Jackie Lidgard is a CSP professional advisor

The use of technology in everyday life has grown exponentially over the past few years and continues to do so. However, the use of technology in healthcare has not increased at the same rate in spite of national drivers, set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, and the Digital Health and Care Plans for Scotland and Northern Ireland. These task all healthcare providers to achieve targets for a core level of digitisation, including integrated electronic records and patients being offered virtual appointments.

The implementation of these plans will affect all members. Therefore, digital competency now needs to be seen as a core skill for physiotherapists, support workers, and students. Research shows that health professionals have the desire to increase their digital skills and their use of health informatics and technology in practice, but often lack the confidence or tools to support this.

In November the CSP will launch its first Physiotherapy Health Informatics Strategy (PHIS) for members to make the best use of informatics in their workplace. It aims to bridge the gap between members’ aspirations and their skills through increasing their skills, knowledge and opportunities.  A greater awareness and understanding of health informatics, and how it can be used in physiotherapy, will support you to collaborate on, and shape changes to working practices to improve patient outcomes.  

The implementation of these plans will affect all members...Digital competency now needs to be seen as a core skills of physiotherapists, support workers and students.

We know that we need to exercise caution when selling the ‘digital dream’, as services have varying levels of infrastructure, hardware, and software to support digital change. This is why the strategy will start with a focus at an individual level.  

Following its launch, the CSP will release short, online education modules to help develop digital skills and to signpost people to digital resources. Watch this space. 

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