Sue Calnan – Member of the Month – January 2016

Sue Calnan, Business Development Manager, Health and Social Services Group, Welsh Government

I have been Business Development Manager working in the Digital Health and Care Team within Health and Social Services, Welsh Government since 2014.

Good information is the foundation of all the work of our team. We work collaboratively with colleagues within Welsh Government, NHS Wales, social care and across the wider public services to develop better availability of the right data and information to improve health, social care and people’s wellbeing outcomes and experiences. We provide guidance, assurance, support and challenge to ensure that ways of working digitally are explored and exploited. We also champion digital-enabled change.

We recognise that high-quality information for people is essential for prudent healthcare – a set of principles underpinning health and social care in Wales (www.prundenthealthcare.wales) – and central to good patient experience, but information is not always easily found because there are a large number of sources of varying quality and credibility available.

The way information is organised and presented can be confusing, making it difficult for people to find the information they need and hard for them to communicate effectively with services. Recognising a trusted source can also be an issue, as well as being able to identify which is the most relevant and up-to-date advice.

Evidence from third sector organisations shows that people often feel uninformed about their condition, support and other services. This lack of information and support can lead to poor patient experiences, ineffective care and unnecessary interventions.

I’m leading the Information for People project, which aims to develop a collaborative approach to improve the production and distribution of online and offline health and wellbeing information in Wales. I’ve set up a working group that includes representatives from health and social care services and the third sector.

The key aims of this project are to:

• Improve the quality and consistency of information for people
• Reduce duplication, provide information once, which can be used many times
• Identify examples of good practice and share it
• Embed digital best practice in our approach to delivering information online
• Improve and rationalise the many websites we currently have.

I’ve arranged two workshops to scope and plan the activities required to support a programme of work. The first workshop was held on 25 November 2015 and discussed options for how we can improve digital health and wellbeing information.

The second workshop, to be held in January, will explore what good health and wellbeing information looks like and identify best practice examples and opportunities for improving the creation, maintenance, quality and distribution of both digital and offline forms of information.

I’m enthusiastic about the project but also recognise there is a lot of work to be done. I have been very impressed with the commitment to providing good information by those who have been involved in the workshops and working group.

I’ve only been a PIF member since October but in that short time I have found the PIF resources relevant and helpful to this work. I attended the event held in Manchester in November about Accessible Health Information, which was very informative and interesting – I learned more about what people in different parts of the country are involved in and discovered there is a wealth of knowledge and expertise I can link in to.