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Could digital physiotherapy be essential in the near future?

Thursday 18th April 2019
The CSP has worked with the NHS to produce a framework to help managers train up physiotherapists in the digital skills their jobs will require.
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Physiotherapists should be working towards improving their digital skills, according to the latest framework developed in part by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). Entitled ‘A Digital Framework for Allied Health Professionals’, the document is intended to provide managers throughout NHS England with the information and support they need to make their workforces more digitally literate.

The framework was developed and published by NHS England, with the CSP serving on the steering group to ensure its contents would be relevant to physiotherapists. The organisation has stated that it believes physiotherapists should be working more digitally in a number of different areas.

For example, records and care plans should be captured digitally, as well as transfers of care. If physiotherapists are unsure of how to do this, the framework should provide them with the information they need on how to develop their digital skills.

The document also lays out goals for physiotherapy and other branches of care within the NHS. One of these is to keep up-to-date with developments in remote care. The framework states that doing so can deliver better patient safety, clinical outcomes, staff experience, patient experience and resource sustainability.

While some managers within the NHS will already have developed digital standards - something the framework makes clear they should be using wherever possible - others might need to work to create these. Having them in place will allow physiotherapists to have a defined structure to their digital learning they can fall back on if they are unsure how to proceed.

Sue Hayward-Giles, the CSP’s assistant director of practice development, said of the framework: “As well as to helping you create a more digitally-literate workforce, it will also support you to improve the digital capability of services. For example, integrated services have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of patient care. Digital records are a key element of the infrastructure needed to support integrated services.”

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