Within the next five years, NHS patients in Wales will be able to book physiotherapy appointments online, have virtual consultations with physios and receive exercise reminders digitally.
The Welsh government's approach is to give physios access to the most up-to-date records of care
The changes are part of Informed health and care, a strategy to digitise both health and social care services announced by the Welsh government on 11 December.
By 2020 patients will have online access to their health records, under the proposals. And they will be able to add information they have gathered from other sources, such as apps and wearable devices.
The aim is that people will improve the quality of their individual health records, which will help them to manage their own health and wellbeing.
Smartphone apps and digital tools will be used to enable people to routinely monitor their own conditions and help them to live independently.
Digital reminders about appointments, medication or updates on care plans will be delivered as a routine.
The Welsh government’s approach is to give physios, and other health and social care professionals, access to the most up-to-date records of care.
Physiotherapists will use technology in all care settings, including hospitals, community centres and patients’ homes. Wherever they are practising, physios should be able to access, collect and transmit data using a range of mobile devices.
It will be very important for the physio profession to be at the very heart of these digital developments locally, said the CSP’s public affairs officer for Wales, Philippa Ford.
Informed health and care builds on the Welsh government’s Informing healthcare strategy, launched in 2003. But while the earlier document focused only on the NHS, Informed health and care straddles both health and social care.
Self-management, a tenet of the current government’s prudent healthcare agenda, is also prioritised within the latest proposals.
‘This is a very important strategy, and one with which the profession in Wales must be fully engaged,’ said Ms Ford.
‘It’s clearly demonstrating the government’s commitment to integrating health and social care with systems accessible to patients and professionals.’
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