For now and for the future

CEO Karen Middleton looks at the role informatics can play in supporting physiotherapy as a forward thinking profession

CSP CEO Karen Middleton
CSP CEO Karen Middleton

I have a suspicion that many CSP members will flick through our new Health Informatics Strategy and quickly move onto the next most pressing issue they are dealing with. I hope I’m wrong.

A few members, I have no doubt, will devour it and want to join the Faculty of Clinical Informatics and be part of the multidisciplinary informatics team leading the work to ensure that informatics improves all services to patients.

If you’re in the first group, I urge you to go back and re-read the strategy, discuss it with colleagues and consider how you engage more with this work. 

It isn’t something for the future, it is and should be part of your practice now – and, of course, for many it already is. Technology and health informatics have been part of the evolution of this brilliant profession that has to keep adapting and changing and now they simply have to be mainstreamed into our practice.

From its inception, physiotherapy has been a profession full of innovators. We have evolved to meet demand and opportunity and informatics is a way of keeping this process going; a way of adapting to the current environment and looking to the future. 

I don’t want this to be an example of something we could see on the horizon and then have to play catch up for years after while other professions see digital technology and informatics be a routine part of their practice.

In a way, the Covid pandemic did help with some acceleration of the use of digital technology, largely in making treatment accessible, but we have to initiate and lead change rather than wait for a burning platform and it does require behaviour change – a different mindset.

I can see that those in the profession who engage more with this work, will be the leaders of the profession in the future. I will go as far as to say that there will be no profession in the future without engagement in this work – the digital age is now and we need to ensure that members of the CSP are supported to practice in the digital age now.  Engage with the work of the Physiotherapy Health Informatics Strategy.

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