This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Equipment Provision” and will be hosted by Adam Ferry (@AdamFerry3). This chat is one in a series of chats being hosted in collaboration with the OT Show (@TheOTshow).
Here is what Adam had to say…
The experience of equipment exhibitions for many Occupational Therapists working within the public sector (NHS/Local Authority) is likely to have been similar to my own. The relatively undirected amblings of someone looking longingly at equipment they know will never be available to them.
That was certainly my experience some years ago until I dipped my toe into the private sector. From that point exhibitions became a lot more interesting as I understood that my awareness and understanding of the market played a critical role in ensuring recommendations within that sector were current, accurate and exhaustive.
For this reason I can understand, based on my experiences, why manufactures/providers of healthcare products often appear to focus more on the private market and indeed why whilst making my way through exhibitions I hear Occupational Therapists saying to the exhibitor “sorry, I work in the NHS”.
However, working in both statutory and private services concurrently has afforded me opportunity to both expand my product knowledge and influence decision makers within the former.
At The OT Show 2017 I was shown a moving & handling product, a non-mechanised standing aid, very similar to a popular but more expensive model often used by my Occupational Therapy team. The product we had been requisitioning in increasingly high numbers needed to be approved by a weekly clinical panel based on clinical reasoning and availability of reconditioned alternatives but was reducing significantly the need for mechanical standing hoists which were currently a standard stock item. The approval process and subsequent ordering meant that clients were often waiting for 2-3 weeks for this piece of equipment with hospital discharges managed with alternatives that were not ideal.
On discussion with the exhibitor some recommendations were made for minor alterations to the product that would make it more flexible within the home environments we work in. We discussed costs per unit and availability of stock. Based on reduction of mechanical stand-aid provision and the lower cost of this new product I felt able to build a business case that suggested its inclusion as a standard stock item off-set by making the mechanical device a ‘special’ requiring panel approval.
This business case was approved, the equipment trialed and has now been ordered in bulk as a standard equipment store item.
My personal experience demonstrates how Occupational Therapists use of an exhibition is not dependent on which sector you work in but more about mind-set. Wherever we work we are the expert in our clients and their needs. Equipment providers need us to tell them what we need, so be brave and take control.
Exhibitors also need to take ownership; engage Occupational Therapists from every sector. I may have ordered 1-12 of these products a year in my private sector role but have just influenced the order of more than 30.
Tell exhibitors what we need so that they can go and find or design it; that makes an exhibition a true collaboration of expertise.
So lets start a revolution and have the equipment our clients need on the approved list, not what is cheapest or what a non-clinical manager tells us we need.
- Participants will reflect on their potential impact on commissioning of equipment.
- Acknowledge skills and demand for specialist knowledge within manufacturing & design.
- Reflect on our use of exhibitions as a ‘2 way street’.
- Develop an understanding of how we can influence change, both in design and procurement.
Questions to Consider:
- What do you want to get out of an OT conference exhibition?
- Is there a difference in mind set between private & statutory sector OTs within an exhibition?
- Have you had any experiences of influencing change to equipment procurement?
- What do you think that exhibitors want from us?
- Describe your perfect conference exhibition. How would it be different?
Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting news coming soon from The OTalk Team & The OT Show!