Let’s talk value in 2018!

Before anything else, a little about the image I have added to this post.  This photo was taken in Cape Town in 2017 when we were there for the WCPT Congress.  Nelson Mandela, a revolutionary leader known for dismantling outdated legacy and fostering reconciliation, will always be a great mentor. This quote resonated with all that we do at Physiopedia and often how we feel in the office!

2017 has been a big year for Physiopedia.  The website upgrade and redesign took the major part of our effort.  The change has taken a while for editors and visitors to get acquainted with, but the outcome is a new cleaner, modern and easy to use robust site.  Since the upgrade we have also been astounded by a nearly 100% increase in site visitors, now approaching 2 million visits per month from users in every country around the world.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people use Physiopedia and where these people are in the world.  When I look at the Google Analytics live view of site use and see between 100 and 150 people using the site at any one time, it highlights to me the growing thirst for physiotherapy knowledge and the role we play in providing this.  This underlines the potential for Physiopedia to help to educate the profession to a global standard as well as advocate for our profession with other health care professionals and the health seeking public.  This will never be far from my mind in 2018.

Our focus now is on content.  Our AMAZING volunteer editorial team continues to grow as do the content development projects from universities, clinics and organisations.  There are many ways in which people get involved and we appreciate each and every one of them.  After 10 years of building content, the majority of the editing activity is now focused on updating and repurposing the information on Physiopedia to continue to improve the usefulness and quality of the content for the development of our profession.

We are also aware that quality will always be a subjective matter. We all know we should critically appraise peer reviewed journal articles, and that books are often be out of date soon after publication, websites and social media often present only personal opinions and that Wikipedia is not necessarily to be trusted, and yet we use all of these sources.  All are of value in the knowledge gathering puzzle and we aspire to develop Physiopedia to be an important piece in this puzzle. Specifically as a resource for initial exploration of a physio related topic and to highlight important primary sources of evidence, Physiopedia is useful, easy to access and targeted at our profession.

We are doing our best with limited resources, most of us are volunteers and this site is our gift to the profession.  Our ultimate vision is that if every physiotherapist in the world got involved, took responsibility for just one page in Physiopedia, spent just a few hours each year to review and update ‘their’ page, imagine the quality and scale of the resource that we could build together.  Capturing this altruistic spirit that I know is present in each and every therapist is something I would like to foster in 2018.

Physiopedia Plus is going to be the mover and shaker in 2018.  Following in the updated footsteps of Physiopedia and Physiospot, Physiopedia Plus will have a brand new look, an improved user experience and a huge injection of new accredited courses and resources.  Now with 16 member organisations offering Physiopedia Plus as a member benefit there is an extremely diverse group of physiotherapists from all over the world learning together, with and from each other.

I am always fascinated by the conversations and learning experiences that transpire in Physiopedia Plus when physiotherapists come together from all over the world to learn.  Personally this is where I learn the most about our global profession, the diversity of our profession, the challenges faced in different contexts and the bonds that connect us.  Occasionally, I’m only slightly embarrassed to say, something amazing happens and it brings a happy tear to my eye.  I’m proud to be able to be a part of these moments.

One thing I have personally failed at this year is my promise to get back to blogging.  I have looked back through my ‘to blog’ notes and the same issues that I am keen to explore crop up again and again.   This year I hope to have conversations about them all:

  1. What is physiotherapy anyway? This is a question I have asked and I have been asked.  It is not an easy question to answer and the opinions raised may force us to reconsider our profession.  I have interviewed over 50 experienced individuals from our profession and their answers contain very similar themes: communicate, educate, exercise.  To be discussed!
  2. What about the 4 pillars of health?  I wrote about this in 2016 and want to talk about it more! Without addressing these four, how can we optimise our physiotherapy intervention and the health of our clients?
  3. Taking control of personal learning.  When the internet first provided us with the opportunity to rapidly search for and access information, learning focused on automating the gathering of relevant information into a personal space.  Now discovery and access are less of a problem and the challenge becomes creating, gathering and recording our own learning outcomes into one personal space.
  4. Dealing with too much information.  Oh boy, this problem isn’t going away, it has even been addressed in the published literature as a public health problem!  We all need to talk about managing the overload for both ourselves and our clients.

So there you have it, my past year and new year thoughts and the first in my new effort to get back to blogging!

Closing thoughts. Physiotherapy is an amazing but undervalued profession.  I believe the profession is currently going through an identity crisis which doesn’t help us strengthen our position.  In the same way that we review our personal goals each year, considering our professional identity is a valuable activity that forces us to review what we do and where we stand in the world.  In 2018 why don’t we do a professional SWOT analysis, use the evidence, data and outcomes that we have more recently been collecting, and talk to each other across all boundaries to increase our value, branding and clarify our place in the world. Then tell us, what can we do to help?

You can read more about all the things the Physiopedia team got up to in 2017 here.