What does a digital exemplar look like? – By Richard Gurney

Ella Healing

On behalf of LYPFT, we are hosting a new digital exemplar role at mHabitat. Our new digital exemplar and new member of our team, Richard Gurney, gives his thoughts on the new role and the challenges and aims that come with it.

If I asked you the question: “Do you use digital at work?”, how would you answer? Would you talk about e-rostering, email, or electronic patient records? Alternatively, if I asked you if using digital at work makes your life easier, or makes service users’ lives easier, what would you say?

When I ask these questions, people usually tell me that they miss paper notes, that computers are too slow, and that they receive too many emails. All of these feelings are completely understandable, and at times I have felt the same way about digital. However, if you look below the surface, you can get some positive reflections: how much easier it is to read typed notes, how useful spellcheck is, and how owning a sat nav helps people to find service users’ addresses. If I ask the same people whether they use digital technology at home, the response is much more positive. Most people have internet access, use social media, look up train times, and book holidays online.

So, why does digital work better when used at home than when it’s used at work, and what can we do to bridge this gap? These are both good questions, and I don’t think that there are simple answers to either one. Over the next two years, my role is to look at how we, as a Trust, use digital and how we can make it better for service users and staff. I’ll be talking to Trust staff about their current digital experiences and what would improve them. However, it’s safe to say that there are some things I can’t do. I think it’s fair to say that there are some things I can’t do. I can’t fix the electronic patient record, reduce the number of emails, or make the computers log on faster, but there are lots of ways we can make existing digital tools work better.

About Me

My background is in occupational therapy and I’ve been Clinical Lead OT / Clinical Team Manager at South ICS for the last 4 years, before that I’ve worked across both mental and physical health settings. Before that I got a degree in IT so this role is a crossover of my two careers. I’d love to hear from you about your digital experiences and I’ll be blogging again soon to let you know how it’s all going.

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