During Digital Health Summer Schools at the University of York in July there was a gathering of digital Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) and some very welcome non-AHP friends. We wanted to build on the momentum from the digital AHP and pharmacy session we had earlier in the year at Rewired. We wanted to grow the community of digital AHPs, encourage those in the room to lead from the front, and to discuss how we might influence those not in the room to better engage with the network.
We invited the chief AHP Officers (CAHPOs) from the 4 countries in the UK to be part of the session and meet their digital leaders. Disappointingly none were able to attend. Although, Suzanne Rastrick, a CAHPO in England, nominated Natasha Phillips, the chief nursing information officer (CNIO) at NHS England, to be a part of the session in her place. We were very grateful for Natasha attending and sharing with the group a summary of the work completed and planned for the nursing profession in England. Having been in post for just over two years, Natasha and her team have made some excellent progress, some of which is already having an impact in the digital AHP world, and some providing learning for us. Having allies such as Natasha and her personal pledge of support will help the AHP workforce shape our digital agenda.
My #DigitalAHP pledge is to use every opportunity to be an ally to & advocate for this amazing bunch and all digital AHPs #StrongerTogether #DeliveringOurDigitalFuture pic.twitter.com/oaXtGdY5UH
— Dr Natasha Phillips RN (@NHSCNIO) July 15, 2022
Building upon the attendance at Rewired, 27 AHPs and friends gathered on day two. An impressive turn out given that Summer School 2022 attendance was just over 300 peers. After an introductory canter through the policy and strategy activity in the last five years, exploring some of the learning (light) from these as well as the missed opportunities (shade), the group were asked to make digital commitments. Using the themes of identity, leadership and learning, digital leaders in the room were asked to consider a commitment to be completed next week, next month and next year.
Core themes included:
- Connecting with the current literature, guidelines, and competency frameworks
- Getting familiar with existing networks and tribes and increasing participation
- Investing time in organisational, regional and national role modelling and leadership
One example of the commitments made is from Ali Toft, AHP Information Officer (CAHPIO) and Occupational Therapist at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Ali pledged to:
- Follow up on new contacts made at Summer School and reach out to others.
- Begin to consider and draft areas for development.
- Review newly published strategies and ones I haven’t seen before.
- Explore new networks and opportunities I’m not currently aware of or accessing productively.
- Do myself an action plan which begins to focus across identity, learning and leadership. A plan with bite-sized, manageable chunks.
- Refocus and work with colleagues to review our organisation digital implementation plan in co-production with the people.
- Ongoing…. shout, question, ask and challenge!
The activism and passion from the group was seen in their responses and included key terms such as:
During the session our wonderful peer, Nathan Kershaw who flew in from New Zealand for the event created a digital AHP channel for Discourse for us. This is open to all wish to inspire, share and collaborate.
The energy, appetite, and leadership for advancing digitally ready, mature, and enabled AHP is obvious. This has been recognised by the good people at Digital Health. Together, we are pleased to announce Rewired 2023 will host the first ever Digital AHP Summit. This will be on day 2 of the conference and be run jointly with our colleagues from pharmacy. It is our intention to invite the 4 CAHPOs and present the digital activity across the UK. We would love for AHPs to share their work at Rewired 2023.
There will be opportunities in the Digital AHP Summit and across the other stages. We know there is a wealth of innovation and new ways of working and we really must do better at sharing.
So, here it’s the call the AHP call to action:
- Please submit and share your work at Rewired 2023 here. Submissions closes on 31 October 2022.
- If you’re not sure what or how to present your work, or for any other digital AHP questions, please do reach out via the digital AHP channel on Discourse
Finally, we are sad that our friend and extremely valued colleague Melissa leaves us to go back home to Oz in the next few months. We are equally excited about international digital AHP activity in the future! Melissa will be taking over the CCIO twitter handle this month, so please do take time to join in the conversation.
The CCIO Advisory Panel have maintained an AHP seat to ensure a strong voice for workforce and we are delighted to welcome the wonderful and passionate Anna Awoliyi. Euan McComiskie will remain the digital AHP voice on the CNIO advisory panel.
We look forward to seeing even more digital AHPs at Rewired and interacting with you virtually before then.
Onwards and upwards for digital AHPs: the untapped potential of digital health!