The door of NHS’s England’s National Information Board (NIB) is open for physios and other allied health professionals to contribute to digital developments, Frontline has been told.
'Develop relationships with technology decision-makers', says Steve Tolan, CSP head of practice
Tim Donohoe, a member of the board and director of informatics delivery at the Department of Health, said: ‘I think that allied health professionals are not currently represented on the National Information Board, but there is no reason why they couldn’t be.
‘The purpose of the group is to have a wide dialogue, so I don’t see that bringing them into that group would be an issue. There is absolutely an opportunity to do that and to get the voice of that group represented.’
He was speaking at the Westminster Health Forum in London on 22 June about the priorities for developing technology in health and social care. The event focused particularly on out-of-hospital treatment and managing long-term conditions.
The primary role of the NIB, created in 2014, is to help develop a digital strategy for using technology in the NHS. England has a £4.2 billion programme to create a paperless NHS, and Mr Donohoe said the board was already looking at how to enable users of digital systems to be more involved in developments.
The CSP’s head of practice, Steve Tolan, welcomed Mr Donohoe’s comments. Speaking after the event, he said: ‘For physios, this is about developing relationships with technology decision-makers locally, because local engagement is vital to setting the right national direction.’
Professor Hywel Williams, director of the National Institute for Health Research’s health technology assessment programme, said his organisation was ‘always happy to look at research into musculoskeletal diseases’, whether they were inflammatory or degenerative. ‘It’s one of our core businesses,’ he told Frontline.
Rise in chronic conditions
A key theme at the event was the rise in the number of people with chronic conditions and the need for self-management and remote monitoring.
David Calder, health manager at the Knowledge Transfer Network, told delegates that self-management and self-care should not be seen to be a threat to the quality of care. He gave telecare as an example of success.
Meanwhile, Adrian Baker, head of health at IT industry body techUK, said there was great potential for healthcare in existing technologies, the issue was that they were not being implemented quickly enough.
‘There are fantastic things happening already … we need to create momentum by shouting about how amazing technology can be, and how it can impact on people’s lives,’ he said.
He said that if clinicians had access to remote monitoring and diagnostic devices, it could help to prevent a range of conditions, from common mental health problems to diabetes and MSK conditions. ‘And if it can’t help us prevent a condition, it can help us treat it long before a crisis occurs,’ he said.
Mr Tolan agreed and said that it was extremely important for physios to make the best use of new and existing technologies.
‘And we need to be aware that one of the greatest barriers to digital uptake is attitudes and behaviours around IT, rather than its absence,’ he said.
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