Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Day 53: Dear Digital Diary…

I'm over half way through the 100 day challenge I set myself at the start of September.  One of the main purposes for doing this was to share my experience of working in an NHS ClinicalCommissioning Group (CCG) with my friends, family, colleagues and anyone who is kind enough to read what I write.

I have a reflective personality and am never short of a few words to say; so writing 100 of them a day about my experiences in a new job and a new organisation has not been difficult.  When asked how I manage to write 100 words a day I’ve always said that the hardest part is keeping down to only 100 words!  As today demonstrates though, sometimes I do write a few more.

I realise I am never going to set the world of blogging on fire with this stuff, but it does provide me with an opportunity to reflect on what I am experiencing and learning every day.  So far I’ve had good feedback that I'm providing an insight into the workings of the NHS and CCGs; I’ve also been reminded more than once how much jargon we use in spite of me making efforts not to (must use plainEnglish!!!).

My Day

Today was spent mainly in preparation for our next Patient Safety & Quality Committee Meeting, which is next Wednesday.  Today was the deadline to get all papers prepared and sent out to committee members.  This is only the second meeting of the committee and the first since we decided to formally separate from a previous joint arrangement with a neighbouring CCG.  The main challenge, as anyone who has tried to co-ordinate reports from many different sources across a number of organisations knows, is co-ordinating common format and structure to a tight deadline.  This was achieved in the main, but we’ve still got work to do in the future to get more consistency in how we present reports.  We need to be brief, but clear and include enough information to help the committee perform its role properly.

Digital Health

Before coming into this role I had worked for over seven years at NHS Direct, who were and still are at the forefront of digital health.  Whilst there I was fortunate to be part of innovative work to use digital technologies to improve patient’s potential and capacity for self-management; including telehealth, web-sites, mobile Apps and social media.  These digital technologies were used to engage with people about services and to support them to make better decisions about their health and care.

Whilst working at NHS Direct I developed an interest in digital engagement and in particular the power of social media to open up the NHS to patients, the public and colleagues for learning and improvement.

Through this interest, I have been lucky to be part of a particular many digital communities; the one I enjoy being part of the most is: WeNurses.  In spite of the name, this community includes far more than nurses and has expanded to develop communities for pharmacists, midwives and paramedics and also worked closely with other nursing communities for learning disabilities and mental health.

The digital community I first really engaged with was #NHSSM.  This is for those with an interest in how the NHS can better use social media for patient benefit.  As I write this blog there is a live chat about how organisations can learn from and use information from patients live tweeting their care?  One of the most powerful things about these live chats is that they are in public and patients, public, health professionals, managers alike all join in and there is no hierarchy, but lots for all to share and learn.
My experiences of working in digital health and my interest in social media has led me to write this blog and has also provided me with so much learning and experience from others that there is no way I could have otherwise got.

There is much more the NHS needs to do to unlock the potential of digital tools and to add them to the public’s toolkit to help self-manage their health as far as they can.  Once self-care is no longer an option, digital tools still have a role to play in giving patients, public and staff a voice and a way to engage with professionals and organisations.

Erik Qualman says: “Don’t do social media campaigns; let social media be the glue that helps connect everything”