Digital Practitioner: Time for a quick map check & refuel

Alison Braithwaite

21st June 2017

Back to blog

At this mid-way point with our first cohort (citywide occupational therapists), it was time to review the ‘map’ for this intervention, along with feedback, progress to date, and the delivery approach.  An integral part of this work was a commitment to use an iterative approach of review and continuous improvement, with each cohort, to give us an even better model.  Check out the Digital Design Service Manual to get an idea of this approach in the broader digital design arena. 

In this blog, I thought I’d share what we’ve been doing over the past month, what we’ve learnt and how we’re sharing that learning.  I want to wrap up with a challenge that has led us to rethink our approach, it’d be great to get some discussion going on this to see what you think and how you might be tackling it.


Coffee, cake, & (digital) conversations

We ran our first Digital Café in May.  These aim to bring health, care,  and 3rd sector staff together in an informal environment to connect and chew over digital topics.  We ran the first late in the day; however, on hot day after a hard day’s work the feedback told us that we needed a better time to do this.  Now our café is set to a ‘bring your lunch’ theme; kick back and join in the chat with your fellow practitioners.  At our first café, we were talking about social media & social networking. We talked over how it might be used, what the issues were, and where it added value.  We’ll be keeping this topic open at the café, and sharing the outputs on our programme website www.mydigitalwheels.com.  If you want to join the conversation, I’ve set up a new twitter hashtag - #DigiCafeSocial

We also ran our first early evening Show & Tell event.  Kicking off with the topic of ‘Digital Literacy, there were four speakers giving a national, citizen, practitioner, and leader perspective.

What we did

As part of the initial engagement, I met with the senior managers at an OT Project Board.  I provided context around the programme and the specific engagement for the OT cohort.

What we learned

Whilst this was a good approach to kick the engagement off, there was a lot of information to get across to set the context.  This approach also relied on the line managers having to take what they’d understood from the senior manager, in order to talk to/recruit their staff onto the cohort.

Albeit I had created an automated presentation by way as a reminder of the context, the approach still wasn’t quite right.  Had I have met with the managers personally, I could have talked through the context in more detail, also allowing for questions, further information, or clarity.

For the second cohort, I have met with the whole team (manager included), to set the context and answer any initial questions.

A TARDIS to allow time for engagement!

Perhaps one of the top challenges that those in this area of work face is getting time from health, care, and 3rd sector staff to join in to co-create and collaborate on all of these wonderful initiatives.  In amongst service improvement, innovation, new models of care, new technologies, oh, and the day job, how do we maximise the output and impact, with minimum (quality) engagement? 

When I started out on the digital practitioner intervention, I took this challenge to heart and made it my aim to do just that. With approximately 1 hour a week over four months, a blend of face-to-face, online, individual and group time, at a time to suit the individual, I was hopeful this was doable.  In reality, it wasn’t quite that straight forward, and my cohort of busy OT’s were seeing the weeks slip by without getting that time to invest in Digital Practitioner.  Now it wasn’t necessarily that the value wasn’t acknowledged, indeed at our first event we talked in depth about the value and benefit to citizen, patient, and practitioner.  Rather, it seems more about the fact that once you get back into your day job, it’s easy to put aside that time for yourself, that time to reflect, learn, develop, and connect. 

So, I’m trying something a little different with the second cohort and something very different with the final cohort, as I said, time to check the map and refuel.  I’ll let you know how we get on, and what the consensus is.  In the meantime, I throw the question out there, how do you maximise the output and impact of a new initiative, with minimum (quality) engagement?

Join the conversation

If you’d like to join in, or start, a conversation on digital in health and care on our Digital Practitioner twitter community you can find us at @mydigitalwheels | hashtag: #digitalpractitioner

Alison Braithwaite

Alison Braithwaite

Digital Practitioners Programme Lead

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