Clinical Practice, CPD, Occupational Therapy in Practice, OTalk

#OTalk 19th September – Digital Occupations and Smartphone Apps

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of digital occupations and smartphone apps within occupational therapy will be hosted by Rebecca Crouch (@RebeccaCrouch).

 Here is what Rebecca had to say…

 The past decade has experienced a rapid development and adoption of digital technologies, which have changed the way people live and carry out their daily activities (Gretton and Honeyman, 2016). Figures show that 66 per cent of British adults own a smartphone and, with it, opportunities to participate and engage in meaningful digital occupations (Verdonck and Ryan, 2008; Ofcom, 2015).

Occupational therapists work with people to improve their health, wellbeing and ability to participate in meaningful and purposeful activities of daily living (Hills et al., 2016). As smartphones are increasingly used by the public, service user participation in meaningful and purposeful occupations could include the use of inbuilt features or downloadable smartphone apps. Diamantis (2013) suggests that digital occupations are being overlooked by occupational therapists as they are not considered as traditional occupations. Diamantis (2013) believes them to be an essential part of everyday life that should not be dismissed. This sentiment is echoed by opinion pieces published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, which call for all occupational therapists to take advantage of the opportunities offered by mainstream technology (Verdonck and Ryan, 2008), and more specifically, of smartphones apps (Stow and England, 2016).

 From personal experiences, I have found smartphone apps helpful in managing my physical and emotional wellbeing. As these apps enable a variety of meaningful digital occupations for myself, I would like to explore your perception of digital occupations, along with your experiences of smartphone app use in your personal life, at your place of work, and their potential use in a therapeutic context with service users.

Questions to consider:

  1. What is your understanding of digital occupations?
  2. Do you think digital occupations can be used to support both your health and wellbeing, and that of your service users?
  3. In your personal life, do you use any smartphone apps to support your health, wellbeing or ability to participate in meaningful and purposeful occupations?
  4. What are the benefits and barriers of using these smartphone apps?
  5. At your place of work, do you use any smartphone apps to support your ability to participate in work-based occupations?
  6. What are the benefits and barriers of using these smartphone apps?
  7. At your place of work, do you consider the digital occupations of your service users?
  8. Are there any smartphone apps available which could support the strengths and needs of your service users?
  9. What do you consider to be the benefits and barriers of using smartphone apps with service users?
  10. What support would you need if you were considering smartphone app use with service users?


Diamantis A (2013) Broadening the horizon of occupation in paediatric practice: A challenge. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 76(6): 253-253.

Hills C, Ryan S, Smith DR et al. (2016) Occupational therapy students’ technology skills: Are generation Y ready for 21st century practice? Australian Journal of Occupational Therapy 63, 391-398.

Gretton C and Honeyman M (2016) The digital revolution: eight technologies that will change health and care. Available at: (accessed on 29 May 2017).

Ofcom (2015) The UK is now a smartphone society. Available at: (accessed on 28 May 2017).

Stow J and England S (2016) The rise if inclusive mainstream technology: Implications for occupational therapists. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 79(8): 457-458.

Verdonck MC and Ryan S (2008) Mainstream technology as an occupational therapy tool: Technophobe or technogeek? The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 71(6): 253-256.

Verdonck MC and Maye F (2015) Enhancing occupational performance in the virtual context using smart technology. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 79(6): 385-390.

Post Chat

online transcript

The Numbers

2.460M Impressions
935 Tweets
152 Participants
39 Avg Tweets/Hour
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#OTalk Participants

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