The European Physiotherapy Congress was held in Liverpool last weekend and Sean Prescott was able to present some of the recommendations from his PhD on how to best use wearable activity monitors to assess physical activity for health research. The benefits of physical activity and exercise featured prominently at the conference, reflecting the changing needs of the population in areas such as older peoples’ health, mental health, hip and knee arthritis, back pain, obesity and diabetes management.
Another theme that generated tremendous interest (indicated by booked out workshops) was Physiotherapy practice in the digital age. Delegates heard how physiotherapists are increasingly using technology to improve healthcare delivery. None of the technology employed was cutting edge but the way it was adapted and tested to make sure it was fit for purpose was innovative. Paperless patient records, online occupational health triage systems, Skype based consultations, and physical activity apps to promote health were just some examples applied in the clinical setting. The importance of acting quickly to explore how technology can support advances in health was underlined with a quote from Booker T. Washington:
“Opportunity is like a bald-headed man with only a patch of hair right in front, you have to grab that hair, grasp the opportunity while it’s confronting you, else you’ll be grasping a slick bald head”.
Demonstrating the value and return on investment of Physiotherapy services to financial controllers and political decision makers was the key theme of the Founders lecture. Michael Brennan, CEO of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association impressed upon the audience the importance of using evidence of Physiotherapy value to leverage government and health body decisions regarding appropriate allocation of scarce healthcare resources.
Liverpool is always a vibrant city to visit and the experience was only enhanced by interactions with friends and colleagues while finding out about the latest health research. With important contributions made by Physiotherapists from around the world the Congress generated a lasting impression of a health profession that is both outward looking and inclusive.