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15 July 2019 by Sandra Yeboah

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Communications intern Sandra Yeboah reflects on what she’s learned at the Innovation Agency in the last year.

Well, my placement year has been a life-changing and an eye-opening experience­­; leaving university and entering a professional working environment took some getting used to and now I’m nearly a year into my placement, I cannot fathom how quickly time flies.

My placement has been a journey of opportunities to learn and gain experience. Working here at the Innovation Agency has enabled me to develop significant understanding about how much impact the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), especially the Innovation Agency, have on improving health and care through the spread and adoption of technology and innovation.

An example of adopted technology that I found interesting was a portable electrocardiogram which shows a heartrate reading. This device enables our volunteer atrial fibrillation (AF) ambassadors to reach the public and detect people with AF, who are at high risk of having a stroke, to help them avoid it at an early stage. It is thanks to the Innovation Agency that many strokes have been prevented and lives saved in this region.

The Innovation Agency has supported mobile apps such as House of Memories which improves the quality of life for people with dementia through pictures and videos from the past. I understand how important and necessary an app such as this can be. Having had experience in working with people with dementia, I know how devastating the condition is but this fantastic innovation is causing a change in the lives of people with dementia.

The Innovation Agency is causing a transformation in healthcare, and I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to work as an intern here.

There are huge improvements within healthcare attributable to technology and innovation which I have had the opportunity to learn about and have first-hand experience in, and a vast amount of work-based learning that I have accumulated which would not have been possible without this experience.

In my role as Digital Marketing Assistant, I have come to learn about the importance of a company’s online presence and the systems put in place to ensure they are reaching the right audience while simultaneously enhancing their customer experience.

Through this role I have gained an immense amount of transferable and practical skills such as data analysis, research skills, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Content Management Systems (CMS), content creation and social media skills – all in a professional setting. While university provides theoretical understanding of what digital marketing is, this role has allowed me to gain practical skills and witness how everything works together in reality.

The level of inclusivity within the Innovation Agency has allowed me to work on real tasks through which I have been able to make significant contributions to my team, and though I am part of the communications team, I’ve had the opportunity to work with other teams such as the events and improvement teams, helping to create content, manage content and research for their Moodle page.

The Innovation Agency is making such a difference to health and care and my journey here has shown that this is largely down to the new technologies that the Innovation Agency supports and promotes. If tech were to be my specialism, I would definitely go into digital health because of having witnessed how much impact technology is having in the NHS.

It would be great if AHSNs promoted the importance of digital health to encourage and attract students and young people, as it will revolutionise health and care as more technologies are developed.

If young people were to witness what I have witnessed, they would be intrigued by it. It would encourage them to get into digital health and thus help bring more digital technologies into the NHS.

This would also allow more technological companies to go into digital health as there is a gap in the market for more health-related technologies, and not only will these companies benefit from this, but so will the NHS and healthcare providers.

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