Physiopedia 2022 Review | Strong Foundations Through Permacrisis

The past year has seen the world enter into an extended period of instability and insecurity following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the global food and energy crises. Multiple other localised conflicts and catastrophic events have compounded this. At the same time climate change and technological innovation continue to accelerate, pushing our society towards a radically different future, as political uncertainty and change remain our constant companions. ‘Permacrisis‘ has widely been declared as the word for 2022.

In this age in which volatility, uncertainty, and a prolonged sense of emergency have become the new normal, the Physiopedia team have continued to demonstrate extraordinary resilience and strength. Their ability to operate as a globally distributed team to deliver quality information and resources to help physiotherapy and rehabilitation professions succeed in their studies and professional practice is astounding.  Despite the many challenges, this year has also seen us finally able to resume in-person engagements worldwide.

Team meetings in London, Colorado, Thailand and Baltimore reminded us of the immense value of meeting in person to build bonds, share ideas and enthusiasm, and just have a giggle together. Meetings with rehabilitation stakeholders in Uganda, Pakistan, and Poland have deepened our understanding of global workforce development challenges and the role that Physiopedia can play towards overcoming some of these challenges. Another highlight was attending the World Federation of Occupational Therapy Conference in Paris where we were able to meet many international members of the Physiopedia community in person, something that we always relish.

With stronger bonds, now more than ever, the Physiopedia team is committed to providing quality and up-to-date information and resources to support the ongoing development of rehabilitation professionals worldwide. Our dedicated team of around 50 volunteers now successfully manage nearly 5000 pages of content on the Physiopedia website to make it the most popular rehabilitation website in the world (ranked #26 by Similarweb in November). Over at Physiopedia Plus, over 150,000 members are learning from 562 courses (212 new courses in 2022) delivered by over 200 internationally respected topic experts making this one of the foremost and widely used learning platforms for rehabilitation professionals.

In 2022 we listened to you!  Physiopedia Plus now has a mobile app that allows you to complete courses offline particularly important for contexts where Internet access and electricity are unreliable. All offline activity on the app is logged and can be synched with your professional development portfolio at a later time. You now have direct access to our internationally renowned team of Plus instructors through our regular live webinars where you can ask specific questions to deepen your knowledge. We have also embarked on an ambitious project to translate Plus content into multiple languages including French, Spanish, German, Italian and Ukrainian.

The war in Ukraine has had a deep impact on us and our activities this year. We developed and delivered 2 free extended online courses in response to the war, on topics that are equally as relevant to many other geographies. Both the Rehabilitation in Disaster and Conflict course and the Understanding the Rehabilitation Needs of Displaced Persons course attracted over 10,000 registrants indicating a huge need and thirst for knowledge in these topics. Both courses were translated into Ukrainian along with multiple other courses that were identified as a need by the Ministry of Health in Ukraine.  This was challenging and time sensitive work which provided an opportunity for our team to work with Ukrainian rehabilitation professionals and to make an important contribution to this ongoing crisis.  These efforts were recognised with the integration of Physiopedia Plus into the National Health Service of Ukraine learning platform and the Ukrainian Ministry of Health  recommending that rehabilitation professionals in Ukraine use Physiopedia Plus for their learning.

Our work with ReLAB-HS has comprehensively investigated rehabilitation workforce development challenges worldwide, and explored these issues more deeply in our focus countries Pakistan, Uganda and Myanmar. The results of this exploratory work validated many of our perceptions regarding the common barriers to expanding and improving rehabilitation profession development.  As a result we have been working towards the development of an International Rehabilitation Education and Training Toolkit (IRETT) that aims to include resources that tackle the workforce development challenges identified. This will include resources to support context specific strengthening of professional regulation mechanisms, strengthening of academic programmes and delivery of relevant professional development opportunities. 

2022 will also be remembered as the year that Physiopedia joined the World Rehabilitation Alliance, we learned of professionals using their Physiopedia experiences to influence national policy, and we came to understand that Physiopedia can be used to offer career defining experiences and optimise health where access challenges exist.

It’s hard in this short post, to do justice to the full extent of all that the Physiopedia Team has achieved this year. They have been pushed hard and in response their achievements have exceeded all expectations.  As the world continues to face the complex challenges of this “permacrisis”, this small international team continues to demonstrate that by working together, with respect, trust and passion, a positive difference can be made. TeamPP thank you, for your endless enthusiasm, your tireless motivation and for supporting each other, always.

Never forgetting our Physiopedia community. For your engagement, for your contributions, and for your partnership. Thank you for putting your trust in us. We value your support and your contributions to assist us in creating the resources that you need to individually learn, to teach, and to share professional development opportunities across the globe. In 2023 we look forward to meeting many of you in person to consolidate our work together.

In 2023 we will maintain resilience, we will be strong, but most of all we will support each other to build and deliver the worlds best platforms for your studies and professional development to support you through these uncertain and challenging times of permacrisis.