By Joanna Teece (@JoannaTeece)
So where to begin?
NMAHP ehealth leadership programme. Maybe not the snappiest title. What was the dangling carrot? What caught my eye and tempted me to apply?
I had the luxury of time to click on the link that came with the group e-mail. This opened up a world of the unknown. Being a naturally curious person I was intrigued to find out more. Although I had to scribble it down on a post it note and keep referring to it, I also now knew NMAHP stood for Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals.
There were video clips from past participants. Real life stories. Real experiences. People I could relate to. The course was local and free. Two big ticks as funding and travel, both from a work and personal perspective, have in the past turned opportunities from a maybe to a no.
I was advised to strengthen my initial application. The thought of being “rejected” and not getting onto the programme spurred me on. Why was this course important? What was I wanting to learn? What was e-health? Was I out of my depth? What experience of e-health had I already got? Could I commit to a 9 month programme? Did I have support from my peers and Clinical Lead?
By good fortune, whilst I was mulling over these thoughts I was able to Lync in (a bit like FaceTime/Skype – see blog post: https://ahpscot.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/technology-finding-the-lync-between-work-and-home/) with a local virtual AHP e-health network group. This reinforced that this course was important. It would give me both the knowledge and confidence to move forward with using e-health systems. It inspired me about the potential for improving clinical practice both for the patient and health professional. Anything to move away from paper forms, spreadsheets and systems.
Fast forward to January 2017 and I’m sat at NES, NHS Education for Scotland, offices. The offices nestle not far from the mystery, history, dominance and magic of the Grassmarket and Edinburgh Castle. Not too dissimilar to how I was feeling about the course. Here I was, part of Cohort 7 and feeling completely out of my comfort zone.
Fast forward again to Easter 2017. A further 2 meetings of the cohort virtually and another back at base at NES. Rather like the weather outside, the clouds have lifted and the sunshine has started to appear.
My knowledge and confidence of webinars and video conferencing has improved. Being ‘forced’ to use this technology for the virtual learning days is inspirational on many different levels.
I’ve joined Twitter #enmahp.
I no longer mentally switch off when I’m in meetings and realise that the Oasis people are discussing isn’t one of the most popular bands from the Madchester music era. I’m aware why we operationally may need to be thinking about which e-health system we are going to use, whether it’s Tiara, Trak or Oasis. I’ve seen how these systems can work in practice and understand so much more. I’m aware there is a government strategy re e-health and seen snippets of what could develop in the future, for example the patient portal. Data platforms such as Discovery have been unmasked and demonstrated. I’ve realised I am still a lover of numbers and data. I’ve heard how Information Governance should be an enabler of e-health rather than a barrier. I’ve listened to inspirational speakers who introduced me to the term, “VUCA” world. A world that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. I started to reflect on how we can drive and influence change and embrace social media.
I’ve learned that e-health is not just about systems. There is a wealth of knowledge and technology at my fingertips which can improve the patient journey. Our experiences of engaging with health, social care and the third sector can be improved through technology. NHS Inform and BMJ best practice are just two examples of how technology can help shape and provide knowledge based and person-centred care. Away from work, my phone is never far away from me. I often use it when food shopping, looking up ingredients or getting voucher codes. I guess it enhances the experience of the weekly shop. It has been refreshing to see and learn from the programme, that there are apps and software out there that I could use just as easily and effectively to enhance and support my working day. Reading blogs such as this is a form of technology improving services.
I’m about to start an e-Health project in my workplace.
Have I turned into a digital geek? No, I still have our IT help desk on speed-dial! However I do feel empowered and supported by my peers in cohort 7 and the course facilitators.
Let’s hope these shoots of Spring and confidence are mirrored by a successful outcome to my project. I shall let you know in the Autumn if my project was indeed a summer sizzler.
NMAHP eHealth leadership programme information: www.knowledge.scot.nhs.uk/enmahpleadershipcommunity
Scottish Government ehealth Digital Care for Scotland: http://www.ehealth.nhs.scot
Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare: https://sctt.org.uk
Strategic aims of e-health strategy: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/03/5705/0
Nick Petrie (2014) Future trends in Leadership Development: White Paper, Centre for Creative Leadership. http://www.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/futureTrends.pdf