Helping staff get the most out of tech image

On these pages, we’re hearing a lot about how tech can help improve people’s lives. But it’s vital that the health and social care workforce have the knowledge and skills to exploit the opportunities that exist now and in the pipeline.

Scotland’s Digital Health and Care Strategy emphasises workforce development in digital skills and capabilities across the health and care sector are vital to the successful uptake and use of technology.

Following the publication of Supporting Scotland’s Workforce research in 2017, a number of recommendations came from the report. Staff wanted a national approach to learning and development, practice materials to demonstrate the benefits and advantages of technology to the wider health and care workforce and online learning resources to generate increased knowledge and understanding of using technology in everyday health and care.

Helping staff make the most of these opportunities was at the heart of our team’s work to create Scotland’s first Technology Enabled Care (TEC) learning module.

So what did we do?

Before joining NHS Education for Scotland (NES) I worked in local authority social care for 27 years with the last 12 of those years working in Technology Enabled Care. I was confident I knew what staff would want in a learning resource and that I could pretty much write the content myself if I wanted to. However I didn’t want that! I wanted a resource that was created from a diverse range of people and organisations across the breadth of the health, housing, care and support services sector. Real people, with real work experiences, reflecting real work situations, to help bring to life the real benefits and opportunities that using technology in health and care practice can offer. Importantly I wanted the workforce to see the positive benefits using technologyto enhance their practice could make for them in their day to day work.

We organised a co-design focus group which was well attended by health, care, housing and other organisations from across the public, private and third sector including academia, Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, who helped inform the resource structure and content.

Our collaborating and engaging didn’t stop there – a wide variety of critical readers and user testers also helped influence and shape the final resource, including our workforce story contributors who helped bring the resource to life by talking about the impact of using technology has had on them.

What did we achieve?

Working together, every step of the way, enabled us to achieve the first national learning resource - Introduction to Technology Enabled Care which we launchedin November during Digital Health and Care Week 2018. It should help staff understand how technology can be used to:

  • Improve health, care and wellbeing outcomes for people and their carers.
  • Encourage people to improve and manage their own health and care and stay independent and safe.
  • Improve communication between people and the staff who support their health and care needs.
  • Capture and share information effectively to help staff provide person-centred health and care services.

It’s free of charge and is aimed at anyone who works in NHSScotland, local authorities, the voluntary/third sector, the independent (private) sectoror housing. It is available on the Turas learning platform. If you’ve not signed up yet for Turas, you really should - it’s a steadily building library and learning platform

What next?

Well, we’ll be starting the process all over again in 2019. A second module – Digital Health and Care in Practice – will look at the application of technology within health and care practice in more detail. This module will follow on from the introduction module and will form part of a suite of national learning and development resources to support our workforce with their digital skills and capabilities.

Look out for your invite to our co-design focus group in 2019 or if you want to get ahead of the crowd then get in touch: Pamela.Dimberline@nes.scot.nhs.uk