#OTalk Research 5th Nov 2019 – Innovation – Do Occupational Therapists have a role to play?

This talk will be hosted by Dr Karen Bell, R&D Manager, NHS Ayrshire and Arran @RDAyrshire and Jenny Preston @preston_jenny will support on the #OTalk account.

Innovation – Do Occupational Therapists have a role to play?

Health care innovation is defined by NHS Chief Executives as

“An idea, service or product new to the NHS or applied in a way that is new to the NHS which significantly improves the quality of health and care wherever it is applied”.1 

Innovation is part of a complex landscape of drivers to improve the care that health and social care providers deliver. More familiar drivers are quality improvement programmes, NICE guidelines, research and development projects. In the last few years innovation has become a buzz word in the NHS with a number of large scale initiatives such as the Industrial Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research in Digital Diagnostics (ICAIRD) in Scotland. Artificial intelligence to streamline review processes and aid diagnostics along with Precision Medicine are increasingly touted as being the future game changers for the health service. 

However the NHS still faces huge challenges – a shrinking, more elderly workforce, an increasingly frail population with complex multi-morbidities and a drive to deliver care in a home or community environment and the questions remains what role if any can innovation play in tackling these issues and how can staff be involved given the service pressures that they face?

NHS England includes Innovation within Chapter 3 of their NHS Long Term Plan2 with the following commitments:

  • We will speed up the pipeline for developing innovations in the NHS, so that proven and affordable innovations get to patients faster. 
  • Uptake of proven, affordable innovations will be accelerated through a new Medtech funding mandate. 
  • We will invest in spreading innovation between organisations.
  • As UK-led innovations are proven as ‘ready for spread’ in England, we will support their global export through the work of Healthcare UK. 

The Catalyst for Health and Social Care Innovation in Scotland3 is a collaboration between NHS Boards, Integrated Joint Boards and Innovators to develop solutions for service delivery problems. The focus is on identifying priorities that are important, doable, of value and benefit and that there is an opportunity to develop and deliver solutions that can be adopted.

Occupational therapists are no strangers to innovation and routinely demonstrate innovative approaches to practice.  We have considerable experience in the use of technology enabled innovations both in the delivery of care and through environmental adaptation and modification.  Yet at times we don’t recognise our contribution to innovation or indeed acknowledge that our work is innovative.

This #OTalk will facilitate a discussion about what innovation means to occupational therapy research and practice.  In advance of the #OTalk you may wish to consider the following:


What does Innovation mean to you?

How do you feel about Innovation?

What are the limiting factors in developing an innovative workforce?

Do you have time to be innovative?

How likely is your service/practice to adopt innovation?

Post Chat updates:

Online transcript: OTalk Transcript from www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags

PDF of transcript: #OTalk 5 Nov 2019

The Numbers

2.196M Impressions
367 Tweets
56 Participants

#OTalk Participants


  1. NHS Chief Executive Innovation Review. Call for evidence and ideas. 2011
  2. NHS England (2019) The NHS Long Term Plan.  Department of Health and Social Care
  3. Catalyst for Health and Social Care Innovation in Scotland Phase One – Summary 2019. Funding, Investment and Partnering for Industry, NHS and Social Care. 

1 thought on “#OTalk Research 5th Nov 2019 – Innovation – Do Occupational Therapists have a role to play?”

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