About Saira Arif
Saira is an Implementation Manager at ORCHA having been the Digital Citizen & Innovation Project Manager for North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups when she joined the Fellowship programme. Saira has also worked as part of the Integrated Care Pilot/Programme for Outer NW London, and the NW London Digital Programme.
Saira is the winner of the 2020 Digital Pioneer Fellowship Spirit Award and was finalist for the Empower Award.
Project: Digital Citizen Education Programme
Goals in April 2019:
Problem: With the number of digital apps and tools available, patients need to be educated on how to make use of these.
Solution: The programme trains volunteers to become digital ambassadors so that they have the confidence to also teach others within their communities resulting in an increase of patient knowledge.
Scale: The programme is for all 2.4 million patient population as well as the workforce.
Desired impact: The project will educate North West London patients on North West London digital tools (HHN app, patient online, ERS).
Progress to date: The education programme is one of the demonstrators as a part of the wider One London Local Health and Care Record Exemplar (LHCRE) programme of work. We started with 56 digital ambassadors in April 2019 (a mix of patients, citizens, staff and stakeholders from local authorities and GP practices) who were trained and then used to train others in the NWL community. By the time Saira left NWL CCGs, 200+ citizens had been trained by the Digital Ambassadors. The Digital Citizen Education programme has been recognised as the London regional winner of the NHS parliamentary award.
“I didn’t feel I was senior enough to apply to the Fellowship programme, but I attended the showcase event and my line manager encouraged me to apply.
All the speakers were great, but I gained most value from the mentors. During the programme I was invited to be on a panel at the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator event. It triggered other invitations to be a panellist from the Good Things Foundation and the Kings Fund conference.
I feel like the programme, along with my experiences, and the amazing people I met, helped me understand my own personal interests and aspirations. My big ambition now is to help those in developing countries or vulnerable communities, access skills to benefit from digital health.
I was recently shortlisted for the ‘Winston Churchill Fellowship’. This would allow me to do research abroad focussing on how citizens are being empowered, educated and engaged within digital health. I am interested in travelling the world to look at all models of digital health adoption and learning, and bring the best bits back to the UK.
My biggest lesson learned has been that people are the heart of what we all do and the most important. ‘Digital technology’ is just an enabler and not always the solution.”Saira Arif