|……. continued from blog 10a
3. Role of technology : in transforming how care is delivered
While the title suggests this was the ‘main stage’ focus, it was not. No criticism intended just a fact! But for our profession this was a silver lining, an opportunity to unpick our core skills and see how they fit in the wider strategic directions and challenges. I did not feel compartmentalized to the “tech people” it didn’t box me in, rather opened up scope of opportunity and clarity on viable direction for the profession. It clearly highlighted technology is moving at a pace that is similar to sound …fast!!! It quite rightly challenged the question “are we technology ready”? The analogue is soon to be switched off which means the 1.7 million people in the U.K that currently rely upon a response to technological services that are connected to analogue need to have confidence it is fit for purpose.
Paul confidently demanded that as a society we need to absolutely know that internet protocol services are affective and responsive to not only offer a reliable response but also to maximize technology to enable people to live empowered and independent lives.
In keeping with Paul’s theme an indication of where Occupational therapists can not only make a difference but add value and impact is in within maximizing the potential and purpose of technology within the home and surrounding community. Paul quoted statistics that state in the very near future on average a household will rely and interact with 29 different internet based devices, the current figure is 8. While recognized to be a game changer and a place to develop innovative roles Paul urged Occupational Therapist to recognise core skills to be part of the development trend within this network.
He explained that the role of technology is to not only deliver, safe effective, responsive, enabling support but to deploy the bend the health care cost curve. Paul made a clear reference at this stage to the Royal College Of Occupational Therapy publication Strategic Intentions 2018- 2023 that outlines the professions commitment to developing practice that embraces technology advancements and preserves the foundation of the profession.
Paul cited Occupational Therapists as a profession that will utilise technology to promote purpose and function to support healthier lifestyles and wellbeing. I did of course afford him the lapse in language term as it is easy for a non-Occupational Therapist to use these terms and indicate we are promoting purpose. We know as an Occupation Therapist it is indeed Occupation, the doing that makes a real difference to the narrative that integral and vital for health, wellbeing and self-reported good quality of life.
4. Re-design Care
I would say a large proportion of the presentation incorporated the concept of a need for service re-design. Paul cited several factors such as the challenges and opportunities of extended longevity, funding, projected deficit in workforce supply, technology advancements and the heroic healthcare culture to “fix it” that are creating a re-think.
Paul proposed the question “Is it business as usual?” or” is it time for change”? He clearly presented arguments for the latter to be his personal and professional viewpoint. He called for a person centric not system centric approach, stating “we need to get it right now”. He believes our profession has the core philosophies, theories and values to lead on change and design pathways that seek to understand via a ‘wellbeing lens’ that supports preventative, enabling and purposeful approaches. Strong principles of ‘ what matters to you’ ? as the beacon of direction. He was not critical of the traditional biomedical model of ‘what is wrong with you?’ but proposed an overwhelming need to look at other more whole person models of care.
He stated an asset based approach in the care system is needed. He referred to Occupational Therapists as asset workforce, the expert professionals who skillfully bring a person’s occupational story alive. We find purpose, meaning and identity. He recognised our unique selling point is to understand participation, purpose and occupation and its value in engaging people with goal orientated interventions.
Paul advocated for change but called for caution to not take a” bolt it on” approach to redesign. Paul called for a rise in disruptors as opposed to disruptive, he saw our profession as key people who can prevent something especially a system or process from continuing as usual, he believes we should be relevant, strategic and implement our core skills upon change in the care system. He encouraged ambition!
In summary Paul delivered an obviously well-rehearsed, experienced, effective, diverse, informative, thought provoking, inspiring and jam-packed presentation that championed Occupation Therapy as the potential game changers to the challenges and opportunities with health and social care needs of the population.
For me it reinforced the value and impact of my profession. I believe passionately it works, my beliefs are so deep rooted they could be found at my cellular level! It highlighted we are change makers and must seize the moment to strategically plan services to embrace the need for understanding what matters to human beings, that we engage in interventions to understand and facilitate meaningful occupations, strife to put occupation in the heart of our communities.
Written by Marie Barstow
Any questions feel free to contact me on twitter: @mrsbaistow